Mail Online, the Mirror, the Independent’s Indy 100 and Ladbible all published a fake news story over the weekend.
A story about a couple undergoing IVF treatment who were told by doctors that they were twins following DNA testing was picked up by the news sites.
It appears to have originated from US website the Mississippi Herald which published it on Thursday last week (and still remains online) and has also been picked up by the Times of India.
Mail Online ran the story under the headline: “Husband and wife discover they are twins after shock DNA test.” Indy 100 said: “This married couple just found out they’re actually biological twins.”
Indy 100 reported: “When [the doctor] told the couple about his concerns, they joked and said a lot of people had mentioned how similar they look. But they said it as just a coincidence and they weren’t related.”
The majority of news sites have since taken the story down.
Mirror.co.uk has updated their headline to include that the story “appears to be fake” but admits picking it up initially.
It said: “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 mirror.co.uk.”
Mail Onlne has since published a new story about how the hoax ‘ticked the internet’.
The Mississippi Herald appears to have begun publishing stories on 10 April. There is no contact information available on the site, but Press Gazette has filed a form asking for comment.