Fake news
The various pages post several false stories each week. Image by EPA PHOTO

Fake news pages inflame culture wars with barrage of content

David Williams December 22, 2023

Elon Musk has been named Time Person of the Year 2023.


False. The claim is one of many fake news items shared among a suite of supposedly genuine news pages.

A suite of “news” pages on Facebook with tens of thousands of followers each are regularly publishing false stories seemingly aimed at stirring up the culture wars.

AAP FactCheck has discovered several such sites which appear to share broadly the same content.

Many of the “news stories” feature US sports people and celebrities with common subject matters including the NFL kneeling protests,  the transgender sports debate and the claimed “woke agenda” of many celebrities.

AAP FactCheck assessed several of the news stories and found them to be false. 

It appears that much of the content is taken directly from satirical news sites and then presented as genuine news.

Musk fake news
 A false story claiming Musk is Times’s Person of the Year 2023 appears across several pages. 

One common story across the various sites is that Elon Musk has been named Time Person of the Year 2023.

The claim is false — Taylor Swift is Time Person of the Year 2023

The Musk claim (archived here) is made here on the Facebook page God Voice, which has 36,000 followers and here on the Gaining Strength page (103,000 followers).

It can also be found here on Chill Time (51,000 followers) and here on Our Story (49,000 followers). 

Another story repeated across multiple pages is the claim that Musk has “exposed” Bill Gates as evil, or that Musk says Gates should go to prison. 

That story (archived here) appears on Our Story, Chill Time, Gaining Strength and God Voice as well as pages called Fact check (63,000 followers), The Life of Cats ( 29,000 followers) and Beautiful Cats (6600 followers).

The story has been fact-checked and can be sourced to the satirical news site Spacexmania, where it is labelled clearly as satire.

Lia fake news
 Swimmer Lia Thomas appears in several of the stories. 

 Another story shared across multiple pages claims that transgender swimmer Lia Thomas has quit competitive swimming. 

That story (archived here) is published on pages called Today USA (80,000 followers), Daily Topic (100,000 followers) and America Today (45,000 followers).

It also features on Beautiful Cats The Life of Cats and Fact Check with similar related Thomas stories on Gaining Strength, Chill Time and Our Story

The claim is also false and much of it can be traced back to a satirical site

Among other fake stories shared among the sites is the claim that actor and director Mel Gibson has withdrawn from a $US60 million Disney project with “woke” Robert De Niro (archived here).

It appears on God Voice, The Life of Cats, Fact Check, Daily Topic, Gaining Strength, Chill Time, Our Story and America Today

The claim has been fact-checked as false and can also largely be sourced to a satirical site

A similar story (archived here) claims Gibson has shunned a $US35 million Rob Reiner project because he is “woke”. The claim has been debunked and can be sourced to Spacexmania

Gibson fake news
 American actor Mel Gibson also features in a number of the fake stories. 

But it is presented as a genuine story by Today USA and Daily Topic, with similar stories on  America Today, The Life of Cats, Beautiful Cats, and God Voice.

A closer look at some of the pages also reveals they are not all they claim to be.

For example, Gaining Strength is listed as being managed primarily from Macedonia and its reviews section features several supposed testimonies relating to Bitcoin and investment schemes.

One reviewer writes: “Amazing trading platform, quick withdrawal I have been using this platform together with the most recommended forex strategy on the internet…”

“I invested just $800 for a try, surprisingly after 7 trading days I got an amazing return of $10,500,” another states.

There are similar testimonies on other sites, with some reviews more bizarre than others.

“Save Your Marriage With Powerful Love Spell No Matter Why He/she Left You.Love spell Dr Okhiria has brought my husband back to me after 6 months of separation,” reads one review on Today USA.

Many of the pages are also run from countries seemingly unrelated to the content or target audience. For example, God Voice, which has changed its name several times since creation, is listed as being managed from Macedonia.

Both Beautiful Cats and The Life of Cats are run from neighbouring Kosovo.

The Verdict

The claim that Elon Musk is Time Person of the Year 2023 is demonstrably false. 

It is one of many false news stories to have been posted across bogus “news” Facebook pages.

Much of the content appears to be sourced from satirical websites. However, the stories are being presented as genuine news articles on the various Facebook pages.

False — the claim is inaccurate.

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