While testing a Google-powered ad program on NNSL Media’s website last week, staff stumbled on an alarming advert disguised as a legitimate news story – one that illustrates how fake news permeates beyond political weapons and presidential buzzwords.

“Yellowknife, NWT: Recent attacks on seniors prompt police to issue public safety alert, urging, older residents to carry new safety device,” read the eye-grabbing headline.

The story – clearly crafted as a targeted ploy to scare seniors into buying a “safety device” – included a bogus retelling of a robbery attempt on a 63-year-old woman as she left “the grocery store,” in Yellowknife, saved only by the advertised device.

An eye-grabbing headline falsely states seniors in Yellowknife are facing a rash of attacks.
NNSL photo.
June 25, 2019.

The ad was quickly removed from old.nnsl.com.

While the click-bait headline and fake news story may seem obvious – and even laughable – to some who are well-versed in tech trickery, less savvy seniors – whose lack of knowledge navigating the online landscape is exploited in the ad – may think otherwise.

That’s prompted Yellowknife RCMP to remind residents to remain vigilant when online.

Look for the full story in Friday’s Yellowknifer. 

Brendan Burke

As the Yellowknifer’s crime reporter, it’s my job to keep readers up to speed on all-things “cops and courts” related. From house fires and homicides to courtroom clashes, it’s my responsibility...