A satirical headline and photo from the Onion that allegedly confused so many social media users this week into thinking the story to be true compelled the website Snopes.com to issue an article officially debunking the story on Thursday.
The Onion, a site well-known for its false humor and satire-based content, posted a headline reading, "Hundreds Of Cuban Refugees Clinging To Air Force One On Flight Back To U.S." along with an allegedly photo-shopped image showing scores of Cuban citizens latched onto the airplane's wings as several others tumbled off the wings in mid-flight. The post apparently was geared towards poking fun at President Barack Obama's historic visit to the communist Cuba this week as the first U.S. president to visit the country since Calvin Coolidge's journey in 1928. This post was published on Wednesday.
Although many social media users are readily familiar with the Onion's status as a satirical website, Snopes.com claimed that a myriad of emails from confused readers were sent to the site asking for confirmation regarding the alleged event. Posts on various social media platforms also seemed to indicate the public's overall confusion following the Wednesday story.
"Social media users have often unwittingly shared fake news articles published by web sites that exist solely to traffic in outlandish false stories," Snopes.com stated. "Despite its long tenure as a humor site, The Onion is still mistaken for a real news outlet on occasion."
In order to spare the Onion readers from any further confusion, Snopes.com published an emphatics "X False" judgment on the perplexing story.
(H/T: Dead State)
Follow Kathryn Blackhurst (@kablackhurst) on Twitter