Satire news website National Report made headlines this morning when they reported that graffiti artist Banksy had been arrested in London, revealing his identity in the process. While a quick scan of the article maintains an air of plausibility, a deeper look into it reveals a number of holes including that the story had been confirmed by the BBC (it hadn’t) and that City of London Police Chief Lyndon Edwards held a press conference to answer questions about the arrest – he never did and Edwards doesn’t exist.
The revealed identity of Banksy is suspicious as well, as the name “Paul Horner” is the name given to a Facebook spokesperson who claimed the site will soon be charging users $2.99/month – another recent hoax story – alongside being used as the name from a hoax story about a 15-year-old Louisiana teen who was sentenced to 25 years to life after he called a SWAT team to another teenager’s house after he beat him while playing Battlefield 4.
Perhaps the biggest giveaway, however, is the fact that the same hoax had circulated the Internet in February. The moral of the story? Don’t believe everything you read on the Internet.