The new mobile gaming app Pokemon GO is taking the world by storm. The game has single-handly caused Nintendo’s stock price to skyrocket and has resulted in people of all ages coming together in the dead of night to chase down the elusive Pikachu. In fact, the parking lots of many Pokestops and Pokemon Gyms are becoming overrun with players causing some establishments to limit use of the area to customers only. However, others fear that Pokemon GO may become dangerous, as trespassing and late-night game play may prove dangerous.
To prove that the game is dangerous, many social media users are pointing to the “death” of 15-year-old Arthur Disby who was reportedly shot by a neighbor, widow Ellen Jones, after Disby entered her home at 1 a.m. to catch a rare Pokemon. Though the story has been widely shared, the story was nothing more than satire and there have been no reports of any actual deaths from the playing of Pokemon GO.
The story originated on the satire website The National Report. The website features “shocking” headlines such as “Cincinnati to Create ‘Leash Law’ for Children under 12,” and “Hugh Hefner Sells Playboy Mansion, Opens Playboy Assisted Living Facility.” The website does have a disclaimer page if you are willing to dig into the site, which indicates everything on the website is satire. The disclaimer notes that “all news articles contained in the National Report are fiction.”
“National Report is a news and political satire web publication, which may or may not use real names, often in semi-real or mostly fictitious ways. All news articles contained within National Report are fiction, and presumably fake news. Any resemblance to the truth is purely coincidental. Advice given is NOT to be construed as professional. If you are in need of professional help, please consult a professional. National Report is not intended for children under the age of 18.”
Despite the disclaimer, many people are mistaking the publication for a “real” news website. If you look at the comments on the Pokemon GO death article you can see that people believe that what they are reading is true. Some have used the Arthur Disby fake story as “proof” that the game is dangerous and should be immediately removed. Others are using it as a anti-gun or pro-gun advocacy piece.