When reports spread on Jan. 22 that footballer Cristiano Ronaldo injured his hand and had to abandon his Lamborghini, Spanish newspaper El País’ first call was to the police. When they couldn’t confirm the story, and it later surfaced that the car belonged to someone else, the Spanish newspaper debunked the false claim.
Football is a serious business in Spain, though this still falls on the gossip end of the scale of fake news. Still, there’s no disputing the spread of most false information can cause brands, politicians and citizens damage. Now El País is giving more permanent space to lambasting lies on a new blog called Hechos (which translates as “fact”).
“We’ve seen a lot of them in the past year, a bunch of these sites that make stories that rely on rumors,” said David Alandete, managing editor at El País. These purveyors of misinformation, he said, mimic the structure of legitimate news sites; they have similar names, typography, layouts and are deliberately confusing.