An Australian satirical news site crashed on Friday after it went viral for mocking Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s refusal to fact-check social media with a deliberately provocative post.
The satirical (and obviously untrue) headline reading “‘Social media should not fact check posts,’ says child molester Mark Zuckerberg”, exploded in popularity around the world after it was posted by The Chaser, a long-running satirical newspaper.
Charles Firth, managing editor of The Chaser’s online site, said it had been viewed by 1.2 million people in less than 12 hours.
“It turns out Facebook users love this type of content – so I guess we’ll just have to churn out more of it,” he said.
The article perfectly lampooned Zuckerberg’s own announcement last night to Fox News that Facebook would not “be the arbiter of truth of everything that people say online”, after Twitter was attacked by Donald Trump for factchecking his tweets.
The original post has been shared nearly 10,000 times on Facebook at the time of publication, and spread even further on Twitter and other social media through screenshots. It has been retweeted by Time magazine’s national correspondent Charlotte Alter, and former West Wing actor Bradley Whitford, among others.
The Chaser online site is a continuation of the satirical print newspaper, founded in 1999. The comedy troupe are also well-known for their ABC TV comedy shows CNNNN, The Chaser Decides, The Chaser’s War on Everything and The Hamster Wheel.
Fellow Australian satirical site, The Shovel, also made global waves with its spin on the topic.