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FAKE- NEWS: 'George Zimmerman Arrested in Ferguson'


Circulating social media message claims that George Zimmerman, who shot and killed African American teenager Trayvon Martin in 2012, has been arrested in Ferguson after an altercation with two black teenagers.

Facebook phising
© Alex_F

Brief Analysis

The claims in the message are false. George Zimmerman has not been arrested in Ferguson. The story comes via fake-news website National Report, a publication notorious for churning out false and misleading reports disguised as news. Nothing published on the site should be taken seriously.


Florida neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman, who was acquitted in July of 2013 of all charges related to the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, was arrested Wednesday morning in Ferguson, Missouri after an altercation outside of a Dunkin’ Donuts, where Zimmerman allegedly aimed a handgun at two black teenagers who confronted him.

Detailed Analysis

Message Claims George Zimmerman Arrested in Ferguson

According to a message floating around via social media, George Zimmerman, who shot and killed black teenager Trayvon Martin in 2012, has been arrested in Ferguson after an altercation with two African American youths.

The circulating message links to a longer report which claims that Zimmerman aimed a handgun at the teenagers after they confronted him.

The death of Trayvon Martin, who was unarmed when he was fatally shot by neighborhood watch coordinator Zimmerman, caused widespread protests across the United States with protesters demanding that Zimmerman be arrested and charged with murder. Zimmerman was eventually charged with murder, but was later acquitted.

The Ferguson, Missouri police shooting of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown in August 2014 also led to widespread protests, rioting and civil unrest.

The echoes between the two cases mean that it would be ironic indeed if Zimmerman was arrested in Ferguson on a weapons charge involving black, unarmed teenagers.

Claims in Report Are Untrue - Story From Fake-News Site National Report

However, the claims in the report are untrue. George Zimmerman was not arrested in Ferguson as claimed.

Although it is presented as a news article - and even features a short 'news' video on the topic, the report is a work of fiction.

The report comes via the fake-news website National Report, which apparently sees itself as satirical. In recent months, the site has been responsible for a stream of nonsensical reports, many of which have circulated far and wide via social media causing outrage and confusion as they travel.

The site presents its fake reports in news format and does not include any clear disclaimer notifying readers that the information is fictional. Thus, many readers mistakenly believe that the reports are genuine and are apt to share them online.

Nothing published on the site should be taken seriously.

Fake-News Sites Increasingly Common

Fake news, 'satirical' sites like National Report are more and more common. It is therefore important to verify any 'news' reports that come your way before sharing them. Searching via an online news portal such as Google News should quickly reveal if a circulating report is true or false.

© stuartmiles

Last updated: August 26, 2014
First published: August 26, 2014
By Brett M. Christensen
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