A downstate Illinois police department was forced to post a unique warning on their Facebook page after a satirical news story about a cannibalistic morgue assistant went viral, sparking concerns among residents.
Sheriff’s deputies in Williamson County, located in far southern Illinois, posted a warning on their Facebook page about a story that was posted to a website called KVTA4.
That story, which was widely shared, spun the story of a woman who used body parts from deceased men to help her win a spaghetti-cooking competition, according to authorities.
Deputies say that the story was “fake news,” and that the website identifies itself as a service that readers “can count on to let you down.”
Snopes, a website dedicated to debunking urban legends and false stories, also weighed in on the story, reminding readers that the story was “labeled satire.”
The website currently isn’t showing up on web browsers, but it is unclear whether that is because of traffic issues or other problems.
Williamson County deputies provided a list of tips for residents to help determine whether a news site is legitimate, including:
-Check sourcing through the contact page
-Take a look at the website URL
-Are other news sites reporting on the story?
-Be wary of sloppy writing
According to Snopes, the KVTA website bills itself as a “fabricated satirical newspaper and comedy website.”
Even still, it was cited by a handful of radio shows and publications, with thousands purportedly reading the story.