An article from The Onion–the preeminent satire news website–says that Italian figure skater Carolina Kostner fell through the ice at the Sochi Winter Olympics and required emergency rescue crews to get her out. Many appeared to believe the fake news piece on Wednesday.
“Unfortunately she skated way out into the middle of the rink where the ice was weak and it collapsed instantly when she landed her triple axel,” reads a fake quote from a rescue worker in the satire. “Granted, a world-class athlete like Kostner can withstand the initial shock for a few minutes, but her thin, sparkly leotard will do little to protect her from the deep and frigid water below the ice,” it reads.
The article appears to be making fun of perceptions about Russia’s handling of the Games.
The Onion has a disclaimer on its website, which clearly states that it is satire. “The Onion uses invented names in all its stories, except in cases where public figures are being satirized. Any other use of real names is accidental and coincidental,” it says.
But on Twitter and Facebook, people appeared to believe the figure skating article.
“Olympic figure skater falls through thin ice,” one person tweeted.
Added another, “Wonder if she’s alive!”
On the Onion’s Facebook page, some users appeared to believe the article.
“Not going to end well! Keep us posted!” one person wrote on the page. “Wow….good place for the Olympics….Russia should never be allowed to have another one until they are truly a 1st world country. That would have NEVER happened in France, UK or US,” another user wrote.
But others stressed that it was merely satire, noting that Olympic skating rinks aren’t built on top of ponds or lakes.
“The reason why this rescue attempt isn’t on the news now is because it’s satire. The Onion is, has always been, and will always be poking fun at things in life and is not to be taken seriously by many people who fail to see the point of the joke,” a Facebook user wrote on the page.
More than a week ago, a fake article from satire site The Daily Currant said that the technician responsible for the “Olympic ring mishap” during the Olympics’ opening ceremony was found dead. More than 500,000 people shared the fake article on Facebook.