A satirical story about President Donald Trump’s family donating $1 billion for his proposed border wall has spread to other sites that fail to label the work satire.
Whether President Donald Trump will be able to secure funding from Congress to build his proposed wall at the southern border isn’t clear.
Democrats have so far rebuffed Trump’s request to provide $5.7 billion for the project — an appropriations stalemate that has prompted what is now the longest-running government shutdown. His administration has reportedly eyed other sources of funding.
We do know, however, that Trump’s family has not made any announcement that it will be donating $1 billion for the wall through a GoFundMe campaign.
A headline spreading that falsehood recently appeared on a number of websites — including trump-feed.com, thedailywire.site and toptopic.club — and has circulated on social media, where some commenters cheered the supposed announcement.
But the story is actually the product of a publisher with a history of starting viral hoaxes. America’s Last Line of Defense published the story on wearethellod.com Dec. 30.
For the past several years, that publisher, through a number of websites, has spread stories it deems satire, but that are often political in nature and frequently consumed and shared as news. We’ve written about many of them.
The websites that copied the story about the supposed Trump family donation failed to label the story as satire, which might have still become clear to those reading beyond the headline. For example, the story quotes “Art Tubolls” — a fake name that often appears in Last Line of Defense stories — and assigns him the nonexistent title of “Director of Presidential Image and Propaganda.”
Christopher Blair, the man behind America’s Last Line of Defense, has openly stated his intent to troll conservatives by tricking them into believing made-up stories.
His claims often gain traction online: One of the most viral falsehoods on Facebook last year, according to a BuzzFeed News analysis, was a Last Line of Defense story about Michael Jordan stepping down from Nike’s board of directors in protest over controversial advertising. We debunked that one, too.
Editor’s note: FactCheck.org is one of several organizations working with Facebook to debunk misinformation shared on the social media network.
“About Us.” WeAreTheLLOD.com. Accessed 14 Jan 2019.
“BREAKING: Trump Family Donates $1 Billion To Wall Fund.” WeAreTheLLOD.com. 30 Dec 2018.
Saslow, Eli. “‘Nothing on this page is real’: How lies become truth in online America.” The Washington Post. 17 Nov 2018.