Facebook fake news story says actor Denzel Washington praised Donald Trump

Actor Denzel Washington attends the premiere of the movie The Magnificent Seven.
Actor Denzel Washington attends the premiere of the movie The Magnificent Seven.PHOTO: AFP

A fabricated news article stating Hollywood actor Denzel Washington had praised US President-elect Donald Trump is trending on Facebook, reported the BBC.

The original post from Facebook page American News on Monday (Nov 14) had been shared more than 22,000 times before it was removed.

It claims Washington praised Mr Trump, saying: "We need more and more jobs.

"He has hired more employees, more people, than anyone I know in the world."

The story also alleges that Washington called President Barack Obama "anti-Christian".

Washington's publicist Alan Nierob told BBC: "The story is 100% complete fabrication."

But some Facebook users have been fooled.

User Anita Ward said on Facebook: "Kudos to Denzel.

"We need to be a united country not divided, after all it is called United States of America.

"In the name of Jesus, stand up for America and come together, love one another and work together."

 
 
 

Another user wrote: "He has been my favourite actor for a very long time. Knew there was something special about him. God is his saviour. Thank you, Denzel!"

The continued prevalence of fake news on the social media website has become a hot issue in the wake of the US elections.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg responded to such concerns in a post on Saturday night.

"Only a very small amount is fake news and hoaxes," he said.

"The hoaxes that do exist are not limited to one partisan view, or even to politics."

It appears not all of Mr Zuckerberg's own employees are satisfied with his response. Buzzfeed news reported that some Facebook employees have set up an unofficial task force to deal with the issue.

American News, which specialises in emotive right-wing stories, has more than five million followers on Facebook.

The articles it shares on Facebook have links back to its main website, which does not reveal any information about the people who write and publish the stories.

The domain registration also uses a privacy service to keep the owner's identity a secret.

The BBC messaged American News for comment on the issue but has had no response.

Where then did this story come from?

In fact, American News was not the first to publish it but took it from other similar websites.

According to Snopes - one of the Internet's oldest debunking sites - a site called ANews24 published the false news about the actor back in August.

Snopes points out the quote on Mr Trump attributed to Washington are actually from an interview in the New York Post with civil rights activist Charles Evers.

Mr Evers, 93, endorsed Mr Trump, saying: "We need more and more jobs.

"Unemployment is way up here.

"He has hired more employees, more people, than anyone I know in the world."