A satirical website published a fake news article claiming former first daughter Malia Obama was arrested for being involved in an attack against white people by Antifa.
Rumors of an Antifa "civil war" had already began circulating on social media when satirical website The Last Line of Defense published the two fake news articles, Snopes reported.
The first article claimed that an elderly white woman fell victim to an attack by "the liberal terrorist organization 'Antifa.'" The second article claims that Malia was among 10 suspects arrested in connection with the assault.
The articles alleged that there had been reports of arson, at least one casualty, and a kidnapping. They even made up a fake victim, a 97-year-old elderly white woman named Mabel Gouldman.
The satirical site stated that Gouldman was “beset upon by four armed thugs wearing black scarves and hoods to conceal their identity.” They stated that she was assaulted with a crowbar, and kicked while on the ground.
The attack was said to have taken place as part of a bid by Antifa to make "good on their promise to [spend] the anniversary of [President Donald Trump’s] election 'making white people pay' for overwhelmingly making him President."
An updated report later claimed that Malia was among 10 other suspects arrested for the assault.
"Witnesses claim that one of the attackers shouted '[expletive deleted] Donald Trump!' while another got in their victim’s face after they beat her bloody and screamed 'that’s what you get for being white, you [expletive deleted]!'" the fake news site reported. "It is unclear if Malia Obama is one of the attackers quoted by witnesses, but she is in a whole mess of trouble nonetheless."
The article went on to call the Obama family racist, offering this fake anecdote as proof.
"What Malia Obama got busted doing today is every bit as bad as getting arrested for violence at a KKK rally," the site states. "So much for the Obama’s not being racist."
The satirical news site, which features a photo of Trump's eyes on the header, also comes with a disclaimer:
America’s Last Line of Defense is a satirical publication that may sometimes appear to be telling the truth. We assure you that’s not the case. We present fiction as fact and our sources don’t actually exist. Names that represent actual people and places are purely coincidental and all images should be considered altered and do not in any way depict reality.
In other words, if you believe this crap you’re a real dumba**.
But fake news websites have caused problems in the past -- especially as of late.
Edgar Maddison Welch of North Carolina visited a Washington, D.C., pizzeria armed with an assault rifle in December 2016 to investigate claims that then-Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was running a pedophilia ring out of the restaurant’s back rooms, The Atlantic reported. He reportedly fired multiple shots in an attempt to “[sacrifice] the lives of a few for the lives of many," according to court documents.
Welch pleaded guilty to assault with a dangerous weapon and transporting a firearm over state lines. He was sentenced to four years in prison. The incident, which came to be known as "pizzagate," occurred after the conspiracy theory spread throughout social media and fake news websites.