A George Zimmerman Facebook unfriending hoax apparently took in a few bloggers and reporters who didn’t keep their eyes open.
In the aftermath of the controversial Zimmerman verdict, there were more Facebook unfriending and blocking requests on Sunday than at any time during the site’s history — or so it was said.
An unnamed blogger at Unreal News Online posted the claim along with a quote from Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg:
“Everybody had something to say about Sunday’s verdict. Charges of racism were thrown around at everyone. Tempers flared and a lot of connections and ties were severed. It was even worse than the day the Casey Anthony verdict was announced.”
Canada.com’s Patrick O’Rourke admitted that he reported the story, thinking it was true because the Zimmerman Facebook unfriending hoax struck him as plausible.
He wrote in an update: “I… took the bait and published the story as news. I guess we all need to learn to read between the lines sometimes.”
The story was published to conservative site Free Republic, and not everyone caught on to the joke.
After one poster said it was satire, another fired back: “Are you sure it’s satire? I’ve seen a lot of fighting on both [Twitter and Facebook]!!”
Melissa Couch for Thoughtful Women also posted the Zuckerberg quotes and the Facebook unfriending record as fact.
She noted that most of her unfriending happened long before, during the 2012 election campaign. But she still seemed to take the bogus statistic seriously. “Should people abandon friendships, on Facebook or otherwise, for political differences?” she asked.
But I’m not sure how far these fine folks needed to dig to find out that the claim was a joke.
If nothing else, Unreal News Online’s motto at the top of the page should have given people a heads-up. It reads: “We write the news stories you won’t hear about anywhere else. You can make this stuff up; because we did.”
How many people have already told you that the Zimmerman verdict caused the most Facebook unfriending ever?