A serious-looking satirical article tricked readers into believing far-right Front National party founder Jean-Marie Le Pen was caught growing marijuana on his Montretout estate near Paris.
“2,559 marijuana plants were discovered by the French state electrical utility at Jean-Marie Le Pen’s Montretout manor. Is the Front National financed by drug money?” asked the satirical site SecretNews. The site’s prominent slogan, “All our sources are verified by a sworn baillif,” seems to hide its satirical nature, but fine print at the bottom of the page reads: “The names of people and businesses used here have a purely satirical purpose. The opinions and ideas expressed are false and cannot be considered authentic.”
Despite this warning and the ridiculous tone, Facebook comments show that many internet users fell for the article.
Facebook users asking about the veracity of SecretNews articles end up no more enlightened, as the site’s managers respond sarcastically and ambiguously.
This question was submitted to us directly. The article has been shared on Facebook and Twitter and posted on non-satirical sites like Sans Limites and Dakar Swagg. SecretNews has confused readers before with a fake Marine Le Pen tweet complaining about a “veil” worn in a children’s cartoon.