By Dennis E. Adonis
London, United Kingdom: – A newly registered and attention-seeking website that tries to pass itself off as an online version of the UK Independent newspaper (which officially engages its online readers at; http://independent.co.uk), is seeking to create confusion among online readers, by using a domain name that resembles that of the original UK Independent newspaper.
However, upon closer examination of the domain name, one will notice that the bogus news website trickily spells the word independent by passing off the letter “I” with the number “one” in front of the word; – a factor which can dupe most people into believing that it was the word “independent” and not “1ndependent” as the bogus news website is using with the .co.uk domain extension.
It was registered less than one month ago, by a person who had sought to hide their identity but who is practically now known to ICAAN, the global body that monitors website registrants, among others.
While the site is receiving less than a ridiculous ten visitors per day through social media promotion, authorities would have to first receive a certain volume of formal complaints or a criminal request in order to forcefully shut the site down; – But advised that it is usually easier for a concerned body to first approach local police or the host of the site.
Social media networks such as Facebook and Twitter can also blacklist feeds from the false news website if an appropriate report is made.
From ironic stories about Donald Trump to totally bogus pieces about Usain Bolt, the shabbily designed news website (clone) seems to have a desire to provide severely twisted news pieces on matters of great public interest.
it was in this context that the overnight bogus news clone carried an article with the headline “President David Granger Rushed to Hospital After Cardiac Arrest”.
Though poorly written, the story seemed to have duped more than twenty Guyanese here in the UK alone to share the false “article” on Facebook, without first considering whether it was from a reputable publication or even ascertaining the domain itself or check for reachable contact details which are generally present for all established news outlets.
Most of them told this publication that they had originally thought that they were reading the story from the online edition of the UK Independent Newspaper, and would have been tricked into sharing it further online.
The article’s Facebook Share count also showed a bug-generated share count of around, 1,700; a figure which IT experts were able to established as fraudulent and considered a possible psychological strategy aimed at convincing unsuspecting people to continue to share the false article.
The original UK Independent newspaper itself has since disassociate itself from cloned website and the bogus Granger article; and may more than likely bring the website in question to the attention of the Online Crime Reporting unit of the Metropolitan Police here in London.
And even though this may seem to be an isolated incident, industry insiders have told the Guyana Guardian that hundreds of false stories would often finds its way into even the mainstream media every month.
It is generally a hard area to monitor since ascertaining facts by internet monitoring bodies are usually a far reaching and time consuming process.
However, in the case where someone is trying to dupe readers into thinking that they are reading a publication such as the UK Independent (when they are not) or is deliberately carrying an evidently false story about someone, local experts are quite sure that criminal proceedings in such cases can easily be in order, even if the perpetrator resides outside of England.