Category Archives: fake news

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Fake News Site Promotes Crypto Startup with New Zealand PM’s Images

The image of New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has been used as a tool for promoting a crypto start-up via a fake news site.

A local media source reported that sponsored stories had been posted on Facebook using the New Zealand PM’s image with article titles such as “This is where the future lies”, and “New Investment plan for Kiwis”. The former title related to a fake article claiming that the NZ treasury had purchased Bitcoin Revolution, a supposed Bitcoin firm.

It is not an unusual occurrence to have fake news sites use Ardern for promotions, according to a government spokeswoman at the Prime Minister’s office, claiming that the numbers of such occurrences are so frequent they’ve become almost impossible to track. She said:

“We aren’t able to manually or digitally monitor the increasing volume of fake news that fraudulently uses images of the Prime Minister.”

In August, an MP attacked the Prime Minister using a well-known fake news website to make her point, Tweeting an article challenging Ardern to denounce French child abuse laws. The PM showed her dismay at the time that politicians in positions of responsibility were using such sites to air their concerns publicly, arguing:

“We need politicians to make sure that we maintain a standard, that we don’t disseminate misinformation.”

This kind of fake media spin, which uses celebrities to supposedly endorse startups or investment opportunities has also been used to promote a number of cryptocurrency scams in the UK in 2018. British Billionaire and TV personality Alan Sugar recently joined an ever-expanding list of wealthy entrepreneurs whose names have been used in the promotion of cryptocurrency scams.

The New Zealand PM joins a growing list of those being targeted including Bill Gates, Richard Branston, Deborah Meaden and money saving expert Martin Lewis, who is currently pursuing his battle with Facebook in the High Court.

Ardern’s office has reportedly contacted Facebook and asked for the posts removed. The PM said earlier this year that she would expect any of her ministers using fake news sites to post stories to take them down.

 

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Richard Branson Says Bitcoin Scams Impersonating Him ‘Worrying Trend’

Virgin Group founder and renowned investor Richard Branson has expressed his concern at the growing number of scams involving Bitcoin that steal his likeness to promote fraudulent activities.

In a post written by Branson on Virgin’s official blog on Thursday, he condemned the scammers for taking advantage of his praise of Bitcoin, and its potential to shake up the international financial system.

Branson wrote: “Some of the most regular and worrying fake stories currently spreading online are false endorsements of Bitcoin trading schemes. While I have often commented on the potential benefits of genuine Bitcoin developments, I absolutely do not endorse these fake Bitcoin stories.”

The scams in question will frequently involve fake news stories that erroneously claim Branson has either endorsed or invested in a specific cryptocurrency, product, or company.

 

richard branson

Such as the above example spotted by CCN, where the article indicates the publishing source as Yahoo. Upon closer look, however, the domain that it directs users to is entirely unrelated.

Similar scams include BitcoinTrader, an example singled out by Branson in the blog post. As reported by CoinDesk, one particular advertisement of this scam poses as a CNN Tech article, complete with a replication of the outlet’s logo and formatting.

While the BitcoinTrader scam is certainly more sophisticated than the above example shared on Twitter, these scams tend to target prospective investors that are less tech-savvy, utilizing the language of ‘get rich quick’ schemes.

Branson noted Virgin’s legal team has been required to deal with hundreds of such fraudulent impersonations online. The company has pressured social media platforms to be more vigilant in recognizing and removing fake stories.

The blog post reads: ”We also contact the social networks where the fake stories are being spread and urge them to take the stories down and do more to proactively stop them appearing in the first place.”

 

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