WATCH: How to check if a report is a hoax
Here's what you should look out for when reading news on the internet

MANILA, Philippines – At a time when misinformation can spread with the click of a button, it’s important to know how to spot a real news report as opposed to a fake one.

One kind of false news report is the “death hoax,” which claims that certain people are dead, even though they’re not. These reports focus on well-known personalities like celebrities, politicians, and sometimes, internet-famous people whose videos or stories have gone viral.

For example, Christine Estepa, a prosecutor who was caught on video arguing with a traffic enforcer in August, was said to be shot dead in her house in Caloocan City days after the altercation. This was not true.

The links to the websites that circulated on social media had the same features that many other sites with hoax content have:

  • A video that plays for a few seconds, then asks you to share the content before you can watch the rest
  • A website and URL that was not the official website and URL of a legitimate media outlet
  • No list of editorial staff or their contact details

A Google search of the details found in the false videos will show that it was a different fiscal who died in Caloocan City, not Estepa.

Before you share a piece of news, be wary of videos that ask you to share before you can watch the whole report, videos that are not from their original source, websites that are not legitimate, and names, dates, and locations that seem inconsistent with other reports.

Next time you suspect a Facebook page, group, account, a website, or an article is spreading false information, let Rappler know by contacting us at Let us battle disinformation one Fact Check at a time. –

Rappler sustains its fact-check efforts with support from Facebook’s Third Party Fact Checker Program, our crowdfunding donors, Friedrich Naumann Foundation (FNF) and the National Endowment for Democracy (NED).