A fake news report is going viral suggesting that Twilight star Robert Pattinson has come out as gay.
The Twilight star, who previously dated his co-star Kristen Stewart, is thought to have recently split from girlfriend FKA Twigs.
But viral hoax-makers are taking advantage of the news online, spreading fake news to cash in on your clicks.
Two hoax websites, ‘Now88News’ and ‘Times of Education’ both carried identical reports claiming that “TWILIGHT STAR ROBERT PATTINSON FINALLY COMES OUT AS GAY”.
The report has been shared more than 7,000 times on Facebook alone, attracting hundreds of thousands of comments and interactions.
It claims Pattinson “admitted to a secret holiday romance with 31-year-old male model Brad Owens”, falsely claiming he said: “I completely fell for this guy and at first I thought I was confused with my emotions and I did not want to let my female fans down …
“But after careful consideration I felt it was best to come out to the public and confirm that I am gay.”
Vastly overestimating the finance available to gay media outlets, it continues to claim: “The Gay Times magazine have since contacted Twilight star Robert with a multi-million dollar modeling contract but Robert says he is yet to take up the offer as he is concentrating on his acting career.”
A Gay Times spokesperson told PinkNews: “WTF?”
Pattinson is not their only target. In recent days alone, both sites have published false reports that Chris Brown and Jaden Smith have died, and one suggesting that Michael Jackson has been found alive after faking his death.
Despite working in entirely fake news, the sites appear to be served by premium ad networks, serving ads for big brands including Hyundai and trade union Unison.
Facebook recently joined with Twitter and Google in a bid to stop hoax stories gaining traction, amid claims that the so-called “bulls**t merchants” have an unfair advantage over genuine news outlets in online news algorithms.
The tech giants agreed that the quality of news should come into play as well as simply the levels of engagement – as the current agreement allows fake stories to spread like wildfire.