Justin Bieber death hoax was created on prank.link and spread via Facebook. Image via prank.link
Justin Bieber death hoax was created on prank.link and spread via Facebook. Image via prank.link
Originally meant for digital April Fools’ jokes, a Brazilian-based website has become home to Facebook-spread hoaxes — including ones saying James Earl Jones and Justin Bieber had died.

The debunking site Snopes shot down the Jones death rumor on Aug. 26, but it persists on social media.

And don’t believe the post that Donald Trump is quitting his presidential bid to run for mayor of Bellingham, Washington, or that Pepsi is dropping its diet sodas — other fibs launched via feednewz.com and prank.link.

According to a news release dated April 1, 2015, “Nobody owns the license on being able to have the last laugh when it comes to digital pranking.”

It goes on to promote Prank.link as a site “dedicated to helping people just like you be able to set up pranks and hoaxes of their own without investing a lot of time or effort.”

Prank.link contends that more than 450,000 pranks have been created from 200 countries, and “there is a competition among users to find the one that can create the joke with more ‘trolled people.'”

Although the news release about the prank-creation site ostensibly was sent via PR Newswire, that service has a policy against April Fools’ press releases.

Prank.link says of itself: “It’s quick, it’s fun and most of all, it’s easy. Simply choose the image you want to use, create your headline and content and then share with all of your friends via Facebook, Twitter or even Whatsapp. Then sit back and watch your Internet prank go viral.”

According to domain registration records, Feednewz.com was created in October 2014 by Anderson Maroski of Brazil. His Facebook page says he lives in Porto Alegre. Prank.link is registered out of Scottsdale, Arizona. And archive.org mirrored Prank.link once — on April 2, 2015. Its previous version was first noted by The Wayback Machine in March 2013.

Prank.link has its standards, though. According to its Terms of Service:

  • Safety is the highest priority of Fakeshare. Remove content and we can release to the local authorities if we see a real risk of injury or a direct threat to public safety. You can not threaten others in a credible way or organize real acts of violence.
  • The Fakeshare takes self-flagellation threats very seriously. Remove any promotion or encouragement of self-mutilation, eating disorders or abuse of hard drugs.
  • The Fakeshare does not tolerate bullying or harassment. Allow users to speak freely on matters of public interest and people, but we take measures with regard to all allegations of abuse.  Pegadinhas created repeatedly on the same subject or person are considered harassment.

Meanwhile, 84-year-old Jones is again voicing the former lion king Mufasa, this time in the TV movie sequel, “The Lion Guard: Return of the Roar.”

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