A story circulating on social media on Friday claiming that a Knoxville man was on the run for creating a real-life human centipede is posted on a fake news site and is not true.
The story appears to be from the USA Today website, but if you take a closer look at the url, you see that it is from a site called usatoday-go.com, not usatoday.com. The fake news site is a pretty good replica of the real newspaper site, but if you take the time to look closely, you see it's full of obviously fake stories.
WBIR received multiple messages and emails from people who'd seen the story and wanted to know if it was true.
Just to make sure, we did reach out to the Knoxville Police Department. Deputy Chief Gary Holliday assured us the story was fake.
"It is sensational, and it is sort of weird, and it does deal with our safety, so it hits all those things that make us want to share information," said Nick Geidner, an associate professor of Journalism at the University of Tennessee. "We’re sharing it, in part, because we want to protect other people and we want to inform other people and it’s just a crazy story."
Geidner says you have to be very careful before sharing articles online.
"The first thing to look at is the address of what you’re linking to. That one is close to USA Today, but it’s not USA Today," said Geidner. "You want to read the whole story before you share anything. All those source credibility ques that we look, you should look at and think skeptically of anything you are going to share."
This isn't the first time a story similar to this has circulated, according to snopes.com.
The fake article says the public is urged to be on the lookout for the man who is accused of a pretty disgusting crime based on a movie called Human Centipede. Google at your own risk.