While testing a Google-powered ad program on NNSL Media’s website last week, staff stumbled on an alarming advert disguised as a legitimate news story – one that illustrates how fake news permeates beyond political weapons and presidential buzzwords.
“Yellowknife, NWT: Recent attacks on seniors prompt police to issue public safety alert, urging, older residents to carry new safety device,” read the eye-grabbing headline.
The story – clearly crafted as a targeted ploy to scare seniors into buying a “safety device” – included a bogus retelling of a robbery attempt on a 63-year-old woman as she left “the grocery store,” in Yellowknife, saved only by the advertised device.
The ad was quickly removed from NNSL.com.
While the click-bait headline and fake news story may seem obvious – and even laughable – to some who are well-versed in tech trickery, less savvy seniors – whose lack of knowledge navigating the online landscape is exploited in the ad – may think otherwise.
That’s prompted Yellowknife RCMP to remind residents to remain vigilant when online.
Look for the full story in Friday’s Yellowknifer.