A racially charged fake news story about a black man killing white women and putting their corpses on ice has been spread around the Internet for the past year.
"Police find 19 white female bodies in freezers with ‘Black Lives Matter’ carved into skin," read the headline on a July 20, 2016, post on ViralDevil.com. Facebook users flagged the story as potentially being false, as part of the social media website’s efforts to curtail fake news in users’ news feeds.
The story said 39-year-old Rasheed Thompson was arrested in Chicago after neighbors reported suspicious activity. Police supposedly found the bodies while searching Thompson’s home.
The post is made up, and it has changed a bit since first appearing early in 2016.
The earliest version we found was posted on the fake news site Now8News.com, going back to at least Feb. 18, 2016. It was set in Los Angeles, and involved a man identified only as "Mathis," who hid 12 white women’s bodies in a freezer marked "Black Lives Matter."
That was followed up the same month by EmpireHerald.com, which wrote the version about Chicago’s Thompson killing 19 women. The original link is gone, but the Internet Archive Wayback Machine has a record of the story.
EmpireHerald.com, a site filled with fake stories, carries no disclaimers about how its content is fabricated. It first started promoting the story the same day as the News8Now.com post.
Some of the photographs often used to illustrate the story are of freezers really used to hide bodies, but aren’t of the fictional Thompson or his victims.
One image showed a chest freezer used by a Japanese man who strangled his wife and hid the body for a decade. Another showed police removing a freezer in which a California man’s body had been hidden after he was killed.
But this story and its details are fake. We rate it Pants On Fire!