There have been enough incidents of people taking satirical news seriously that it's a good idea to look into the news site before sharing. Unfortunately, many people don’t, and then things like this happen.
Satire news site Free Wood Post, with its banner reading “news that’s almost reliable” posted a story, saying that the Southern Poverty Law Center had added Fox News to their list of hate groups. “Time and time again, Fox News has shown their true colors with their own colorful language surrounding people of color and the LGBT community.”
The article is a bit on the nose and not as humorous as similar news/satire site The Onion, but apparently it was written convincingly enough that many people commented on and shared the story, believing it was true.
This week the Southern Poverty Law Center labeled Fox News a hate group.— Moses (@Iamwhoismoses) June 11, 2015
IT'S BOUT TIME! AND WHAT TOOK THEM SO LONG? ---> Fox News Declared Hate Group By Southern Poverty Law Center http://t.co/ifXRzE3kAi— The REAL Black Fist™ (@GeneralNikkiX) June 12, 2015
SPLC has officially labeled Fox News a hate group..Wonder if they will cover that— Vintage (@VinnyxVintage) June 10, 2015
Confusion ran rampant with liberal social media users sharing the news happily, and conservative social media users reacting with anger, many of whom posted to Free Wood Post's Facebook page. For some, it wasn't too much of a stretch to imagine Fox News had made the list of hate groups. The Southern Poverty Law Center itself released a statement to try and clear the mix-up, saying "Contrary to reports, SPLC hasn't added any news outlet to its list of hate groups," and then provided a link to their list of hate groups.
There are still some people who are posting to social media unaware of the hoax. Hopefully this has taught people to research unfamiliar news sources before sharing.
Photo credit: Wikipedia