A ridiculous story about a married couple finding out they were twins on a fake news site was picked up by many news outlets.
It was a story that seemed almost too ridiculous to be true: a married couple found out they were biological twins after trying to get pregnant via in-vitro fertilization. And as it turns out, it was, although many mainstream media sources out there are still running with what is now obviously a fake story.
The story, run by a online news site called the Mississippi Herald, claims that a husband and wife were given up for adoption at a young age, but were never told they were twins due to some filing error. When they attempted to conceive at an IVF clinic, a lab assistant who ran their DNA noticed they were similar and then further discovered they had been born on the same day in 1984, according to the now-debunked story.
While more reputable sites like the New York Times or Washington Post don’t appear to be running with this nonsense story, many other widely read news outlets like the Mirror and the Daily Mail ran with it. Even Fox News ran a Sun article on their site.
The Mississippi Herald sounds very much like the actual local newspaper, the Sun-Herald, but the Mirror contacted the real newspaper and asked them. They confirmed the site was not theirs.
The story should have immediately raised red flags. The Mississippi Herald website has all the looks of a spam website, with its basic design and lack of any information whatsoever about its writers, as well as no contact information other than a basic form you have to fill out.
The story relies on anonymous sources for confidentiality purposes, it claims.
“My first reaction was that they must have been related; perhaps they were first cousins, which does happen sometimes. However, looking closer at the samples, I noticed there were too many similarities,” the doctor said according to the story. “With this in mind, I was convinced that both patients were fraternal twins.”
Here are what a few online news sites said about the story once they realized it was fake:
Scallywag & Vagabond: A Mississippi married couple have received a shock of their lifetimes after being informed they were biological twins after visiting an IVF clinic. Nevertheless further research may have led to the since ‘viral story’ being another instance of fake news and news media ongoing failure to check verifiable sources along with the temptation to fabricate facts for hits for the sake of advertising revenue.
Metro: A viral story about a married couple only realising they were biological twins after trying IVF has been revealed to be fake. National news publications around the world carried the article yesterday, including Metro.co.uk. However, doubts have now been raised about the legitimacy of the original news outlet to publish the claims.
Mirror: A viral story about a couple who apparently found out they were twins through IVF appears to be fake. The article was published by the ‘Mississippi Herald’ on Thursday and was soon picked up by news outlets around the world, including the Mirror.