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You are watching: “hiv virus” detected in walmart bananas
Fake news is bananas by nature, but one particularly slippery claim is actually about bananas said to be infected with HIV.
"HIV virus detected in Walmart bananas after 10 year old boy contracts the virus," reads the headline on a post we first saw on Feb. 6, 2017, from a website called CNNews3.com. Facebook users flagged the story as part of the social media platform’s efforts to stamp out fabricated news stories.
The fake story, which is undated, said eight children younger than 17 had tested positive for the virus that causes AIDS in the month of March (it doesn’t say in which year). All eight allegedly ate bananas purchased at a Tulsa, Okla., Walmart store, with the boy in the headline developing symptoms within a week. The text falsely says Walmart stores are recalling bananas nationwide.
The post included a contrived photo (shown above) featuring a red-streaked banana. The screenshot is made to resemble a breaking news alert from CNN.
But the website is not the real CNN, and there is no epidemic of HIV-infected bananas. The story is instead a symptom of a long-running online infection of fake news stories about disease-ridden fruit.
CNNews3.com is filled with several obviously untrue posts about libidinous gorillas and dubious Big Mac ingredients made up to look like news reports, as well as other headlines that could be construed as real without any indication otherwise. The site’s administrators did not answer our attempts to contact them, but it’s obvious that CNNews3.com is attempting to masquerade as the cable news giant with a similar name.
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For the record, HIV can’t survive outside the human body, so it’s not possible for the virus to live in a fruit like a banana. The CNNews3.com tries to cast doubt on this by noting researchers were puzzled by the banana-borne infections.