A hoax news report is saying that Michael Vick, the quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles, broke both his legs in a car crash.
UPDATE: Vick Tweeted on Monday about the hoax, saying “I don’t know where these rumors start but I’m doing great. No accident or broken legs. Thanks for the concerns! #BleedGreen #Blessed.”
The report is from the fake news site Global Associated News.
“A spokesperson for the Philadelphia highway safety authority (HSA) has confirmed that Michael Vick has broken both of his legs in a traffic altercation. He has been transported via ambulance to a local Philadelphia hospital for treatment, and the full extent of his injuries are not known at this time, however, both of his legs were visibly broken and not life threatening according to sources,” reads the fake news piece, which has generated nearly 19,000 “likes” on Facebook.
However, the Global Associated News has a disclaimer at the bottom, saying it is “FAKE… THIS STORY IS 100% FAKE! this is an entertainment website, and this is a totally fake article based on zero truth and is a complete work of fiction for entertainment purposes! this story was dynamically generated using a generic ‘template’ and is not factual.”
On Sunday’s game against the Arizona Cardinals, Vick was made active as backup to starting quarterback Nick Foles, who this season has thrown for 19 touchdowns and no interceptions. Foles threw three touchdowns in a 24-21 win over the Cardinals.
The site was responsible for false car crash rumors spread about Vick earlier this year–which had a similar premise.
The Global Associated News has also produced death and car accident rumors about Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning and Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers earlier this year. Like the Vick article, they include car crashes.
Apparently, Global Associated News generates its fake news from the site Fake-a-Wish, allowing users to put names into a box, which then creates a false report.
Rich Hoover, the owner of Global Associated News, told the New York Times in 2009 that he gets revenue from the viral fake articles. “I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t some twisted sense of satisfaction or accomplishment,” he said.
Mark Bell, an adjunct professor at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, told the paper at the time that people create the hoaxes because they get a rush from lying.
“They get a thrill from it. There is a little hit of dopamine when you lie, especially a lie that is believed by somebody else,” he told the Times.
Notable death hoaxes this year have targeted Jackie Chan, Eddie Murphy, Celine Dion, Jared Leto, “Chumlee” of “Pawn Stars,” and Justin Bieber. Some of the hoaxes have merely originated from a Facebook page that lists the star’s name and “R.I.P.,” which then gets “liked” tens of thousands of times, while some have originated from Twitter.