Another day, another fake news story being shared out on Facebook. This time it’s a story about former NBA player Allen Iverson being broke and begging for quarters at Atlanta’s Lenox Mall.
An news item reported a broke and down on his luck Iverson was spotted at an Atlanta mall begging for change in the parking lot:
“Troubled former NBA basketball player Allen Iverson was seen begging for change outside of Lenox Mall in Atlanta. Several mall patrons reported a man with a disheveled appearance harassing them for change,” the article read. “When security arrived, they were shocked to see it was none other than basketball legend Allen Iverson. Iverson was asked to leave the premises by mall security.”
Iverson certainly has had troubles financially, and there is nothing wrong with begging for change, it’s just that everything I know about Allen Iverson and the story itself raised several red flags when I came across the story. Now, I’ve never been a fan of Allen Iverson as a basketball player, but unless something completely changed about Iverson’s personality, the former NBA superstar is way too proud to ever be panhandling at a mall. RED FLAG.
Not just that, but the original news source is accompanied by this image of Allen Iverson crying at a 76ers news conference and not a actual photo of a penniless, disheveled Iverson wandering the parking lot of a suburban mall. HUGE RED FLAG.
Some internet sleuthing quickly found that the site is all fake news, all the time.
The stories posted on TheNewsNerd are for entertainment purposes only. The stories may mimic articles found in the headlines, but rest assured they are purely satirical.
…yet it’s so much easier to click share and like. And as of this post, this false report has been shared 48,000 times on Facebook and tweeted over 2,000 times.
Click, Like, Share and Perpetuate Stereotypes
It’s one thing to be fooled by a news story, and it’s another to spread false information, but there seems to be a deeper probelm; an insidious pattern to the Facebook fakery.
In past posts, these fake posts used pervasive stereotypes of Chinese restaurants and Detroit’s reputation for crime to bait users into easy clicks, likes, and shares. And before you know it, another urban legend is born. Another stereotype is perpetuated by a fake account of something that sounds too good to be true.
This particular post isn’t any better. The “broke Iverson” report plays off the idea of financially-irresponsible athletes whom are predominantly African-American. It’s so easy to click and share for those that buy into this for whatever their reasons. The clicking and sharing becomes even easier when the subject of the report is someone that is as divisive as Allen Iverson; a player that lived by his own rules, for better or worse.
I have no idea what Iverson’s financial status is, but Celebrity New Worth reports that Iverson has a $30 million trust from Reebok. He can’t touch the pile of cash until he’s 55 years old, but if Iverson is having troubles with money, depending on what kind of trust is it, he might be able to borrow against that trust.