Oprah Winfrey's name was trending on Tuesday night (March 17) for the most bizarre of reasons. Rumors were spreading around the internet that the media mogul had been arrested for — wait for it — sex trafficking.
If that sounds implausible to you, it's because the reports were absolutely false, and perpetuated by trolls and bots. But the noise got so loud that Oprah felt the need to set the record straight herself.
"Just got a phone call that my name is trending. And being trolled for some awful FAKE thing. It’s NOT TRUE. Haven’t been raided, or arrested. Just sanitizing and self distancing with the rest of the world. Stay safe everybody," she wrote, referencing the self-quarantine mandate that has most of society staying indoors this week.
Just got a phone call that my name is trending. And being trolled for some awful FAKE thing. It’s NOT TRUE. Haven’t been raided, or arrested. Just sanitizing and self distancing with the rest of the world. Stay safe everybody.🙏🏾— Oprah Winfrey (@Oprah) March 18, 2020
In case there are still one or two people on the internet who needed to hear that again, Oprah's friend Ava DuVernay reiterated the message:
Trolls + bots began this disgusting rumor. Mean-spirited minds kept it going. #Oprah has worked for decades on behalf of others. Given hundreds of millions to individuals + causes in need. Shared her own abuse as a child to help folks heal. Shame on all who participated in this. https://t.co/iavMEmtLe7— Ava DuVernay (@ava) March 18, 2020
The incident is a good reminder that, in a world of bots, trolls and deep fakes, everybody needs to be more skeptical of what we read online.
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