The Internet has done a lot of good since it became a fixture in our lives, from allowing us Netflix binges to…some other things. But one of the worst aspects involves the plethora of websites that took a note from The Onion and decided that putting fake news out there would be a great idea. One of the latest false stories claimed the review site Yelp is suing South Park for $10 million over last week’s episode “You’re Not Yelping.” Though it was clearly fictional to anyone who bothered to read it, some outlets still treated the news as real. It’s not.
The bunk news site NBC.com.co put out the story, and while it was crafted pretty solidly for the most part, there were more than a few cues that it was the product of someone’s imagination. The biggest one, it must be said, was a giant quote from the “Christian mascot” Fappy The Anti-Masturbation Dolphin. Check out what Fappy had to say below.
Before being listed on Yelp we had no problem going around the country speaking to elementary school children about the dangers and consequences of masturbation. Now, with our poor reviews on Yelp, people are beginning to question our morals and ethics, like that is so important. Just because I have been arrested three times for public masturbation and each case was pardoned by the Governor, doesn’t mean our federal funding and government support had anything to do with it. With the assumptions made by Yelp reviewers, they are causing deadly self-rape addictions in this country to continue and in the end it is Big Masturbation that wins. Such a shame.
You can see where some people would have a problem differentiating this from reality.
To be fair, most outlets and readers saw this story and laughed it off as a nice slice of mockery, but both San Francisco Business Times and Google News were fooled. Hell, even though the Business Times has deleted the article from their site, it still shows up on Google like a judgmental electronic finger pointing it out in a crowd.
Anyone paying attention to Yelp’s Twitter account over the past week would have known that the company not only wasn’t direly insulted by South Park comparing it to ISIS (among other negative connotations), but it was fine with it. This is what they put out there after the episode aired.
If we’re being totally honest here, there were a couple of NBC.com.co stories in the past few months with headlines that caused me to legitimately freak out before I realized where the infuriating headline came from. And I’m sure it’ll happen again in the future, because like South Park’s years and years of hilariously insulting storytelling, most things don’t change that much.