Reports that all schools in Northern Ireland are closed through Nov. 20 due to teacher strikes are false. Rumors that Northern Ireland schools have shut their doors for the next 11 days stemmed from a prank news website.
According to Hoax Alert, the fake claim originated on Trend-News, a prank news website that allows users to trick their friends by creating hoaxes. The extremely short article claimed that all schools in Northern Ireland would be closed from Nov. 9 through Nov. 20 due to teacher strikes. It purported:
All schools Northern Ireland closed 9th November-20th november.
Schools with remain closed till the 20th of November due to teachers on strike.
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The report, however, is entirely fabricated. There is no evidence to suggest that teachers at Northern Ireland schools are currently on strike and there have been no reports that schools in the area are closed for an extended period of time. Trend-News clearly states in their disclaimer that articles published to the site should not be taken seriously:
This website is an entertainment website, news are created by users. These are humourous news, fantasy, fictional, that should not be seriously taken or as a source of information.
Pranks published on Trend-News, and other websites like it, often end up attracting a lot of attention on social media due how misleading they can be. The hoaxes require only a short title, brief description and striking image. These pranks have tricked thousands of people because they look genuine when shared on sites like Facebook and Twitter.
While schools in Northern Ireland are not currently closed, schools in the area did close last month due to Hurricane Ophelia. BBC News reported that all Northern Ireland schools were closed on Monday, Oct. 16 “due to risks posed by gusts resulting from Hurricane Ophelia.” The Department of Education also advised schools and colleges to remain closed the next day, a decision that some called “ridiculous.”
An 11-day closure, however, did not happen.
— Good Morning Britain (@GMB) October 16, 2017
Here are some examples of people sharing the hoax on social media:
Social Media Shares Fake Story about Schools In Northern Ireland Closing Until Nov. 20
All school in Northern Ireland closed 9th November- 20th November https://t.co/gzGfWFOGs9
— gary morgan (@gmorgan535) November 9, 2017
All school in Northern Ireland closed 9th November- 20th November https://t.co/ITLN5qEt8t
— sinead mccrory (@SineadMccrory) November 9, 2017
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Crap my kids must be waiting since i left them of to school THIS MORNING for me to come back and get them..-_-
Have you seen the fake story about all schools in Northern Ireland being closed due to teacher strikes circulating social media? What are your thoughts on prank news websites? Sound off in the comments section below!