BY PETER ONDABU
The Media Council of Kenya has called out a blog pretending to be the website of local TV station K24 for cheating Kenyans in a May 10 post that police had closed a restaurant in Eastleigh for selling human meat.
The website, k24-news . com, carried a story that was widely shared online that police had been called to a restaurant by locals and on reaching there, they found two human heads with blood oozing from them.
They even quoted a resident who said he had been observing “strange” activities happening at the hotel, “reconstructing” images of shabbily dressed men who went in and out. There was even a report about a priest who had been charged Sh1,000 for taking breakfast at the restaurant, and was shocked when an attendant told him that it was because it was human meat.
The shocking story made many people grimace and hate Eastleigh, a Nairobi suburb with a high number of Somalis.
But the news was a total fabrication as pointed out in the latest newsletter from the Media Council of Kenya (MCK), a State agency that regulates all journalists in Kenya. (You can read the newsletter by following this link.)
“A post made rounds on social media purporting to have originated from K24 TV. A blog published an article claiming that a certain butchery said to be selling human meat in Nairobi has been shut down. K24 TV has since distanced itself from the claim,” MCK says in a section of its weekly newsletter where it points out fake news.
At Kenya Media Recaps and Critiques, we have been analysing why the story fooled so many people.
One of them is the fluency of the language used. One tell-tale sign of a fake blog is usage of bad English. But in this one, everything looks tidy, from the sentence construction to the punctuation.
Secondly, the legitimate K24 logo appeared prominently in shared posts, and any reader would be made to believe the news came from the station that is owned by Mediamax Network Limited.
On the post as it is on the website, a questionable K24 logo with the word MediaMax underneath it was sure to make everyone fall for it.
Third, an almost similar report — of bleeding heads and an AK47 rifle being found in a business establishment — had been posted on other sites, particularly in Nigeria, which had also been proven to be fake news.
Whatever the case, the evil administrator of the site must have made an evil grin that day as traffic flew to his site by the thousands. Well-played, blogger.
We only hope that the new Computer Misuse and Cybercrimes Act , assented into law six days after the fake news was published, will contain such pranks.
Kenya Media Recaps and Critiques has learnt that the human meat post has made a number of people change their perspectives about shopping and eating in Eastleigh.