A fake story this weekend claims that a 15-year old “swatter” was convicted of domestic terrorism and sent to federal prison.
The article circulating was published by the “satirical” website National Report. That website publishes fake, outlandish stories in the name of satire. These alarming stories are often shared by readers on social media who are unaware that the website publishes nothing but fiction.
As with many of the newer “satire” sites popping up in 2014, the National Report story appears to have been influenced by real events. Last week, a gamer in Colorado was visited by SWAT officers in after a fake 911 call claimed the man had shot multiple people. Back in April, a well-publicized “Call of Duty” swatting occurred in Long Island. In that case, a sore loser called the police to exact revenge on his in-game opponent.
A photo in the fake story purports to show the swatter after being convicted. The image, however, is that of a man who was sentenced after beating his girlfriend’s child to death.
The sentencing suggested in the fake story does not mirror convictions in real swatting cases, which are typically a few years at most.
The story that a 15 year old was sentenced to 25 years to life for swatting is fake. It was published by the “satire” website National Report and repeated by several other websites that did not confirm the veracity of the story.