Sorry, X celebrity is not moving to Y town

Computer generated clickbait. The best kind. :(

Fake auto generated sites use our love of hometown and famous faces against us for ad revenue.

Who is writing these fake stories?

“Famous celebrity moves to local town.” Some variation of this story pops up on Facebook often.

Unfortunately they are all fake. A few tip offs, the sites look exactly the same, are covered in ads, and are vague stories with no specifics. This type of site is a pure ad revenue play. They generate the ‘stories’ with a program, and try to get people to share them so others view them, so they can collect AdSense revenue.

I tried looking up the Whois information behind the different websites, but they are all registered by a privacy 3rd company, common practice for this type of spam.

Why it works on us

These types of stories prey on two things:

  1. Our love of celebrities
  2. Our love of our hometown

When we see an ‘article’ that combines them both we can’t help but share it. And the articles always say such nice things about the town. Something about how the people are so genuine etc.

Snopes did a write up, as did several other news orgs.

What can you do?

Next time you see someone share this type of story, do your part and nicely comment with this link, or the link to the Snopes article.

I even made a bitly link so it will be easier to remember.

http://bit.ly/CelebMoveFake

You can also report webspam to Google here or you can install the official Chrome blocklist extension to block sites from your search results.

Update: My friend John Richards pointed out that there is an alternative version making the rounds. “Highly anticipated movie filming in your hometown, be an extra!” Stay curious but stay critical my friends. 😀

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