Did you hear the news that Yelp was suing South Park? Or that Breaking Bad was coming back for another season? Neither is true. They were rumours cooked up by NBC.com.co, a “parody” site with no affiliation to NBC. And NBC wants them to stop.
US media giant NBCUniversal recently issued a cease and desist order to NBC.com.co, a website that runs fake news and somehow tricked Google News into promoting its material. As a result of the Google News hits, things like the Yelp lawsuit and the Breaking Bad reboot have gone viral on reputable sites.
What does the .co part of their domain stand for? NBC.com.co uses the top level domain of the country of Colombia. But the owner of the site says he’s not taking it down.
According to Variety:
Paul Horner, the individual who claims responsibility for the website, confirmed in an email to Variety that NBCU sent a legal takedown notice — but he argued that his site is legally protected because it’s a parody and because he doesn’t use any NBC logos.
The NBC “parody” website, like so many fake news sites, use a number of very plausible headlines to attract attention and go viral. But Horner probably has a point that if he’s not using any NBC logos, the courts could rule in his favor, should NBC decide to sue (which it hasn’t yet).
This article originally appeared on Factually, Gizmodo's blog for setting the record straight