Fake news explosion on US election day

Here are the worst examples of fake US election news to have emerged thus far (iStock / Reuters)
Here are the worst examples of fake US election news to have emerged thus far (iStock / Reuters)

It's a big day for news organisations with all eyes fixed on the United States as Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump compete in a heated race for the White House.

But with media companies across the US and the world vying to get updates in quicker than their opponents, hordes of people have been distributing fake content in an attempt to fool the public and promote their favourite candidate.

One common theme in the fake news has been about whether the election is rigged, and the media's influences on the public to cover it up.

Here are the worst examples of fake US election news to have emerged thus far.

Buzzfeed was among the first organisations to pick up on this trend, revealing in August that Macedonian social media users were creating phony accounts to disseminate articles from made-up news sites.

The group, which appears to be made up of hundreds of people, hijacked Democrat support groups to spread their own "false and misleading pro-Trump content".

Much of that content was posted in groups for supporters of former rival Bernie Sanders, who traditionally attracts a much younger demographic - and was believed to have been posted to discourage the Vermont senator's backers from throwing their support behind Ms Clinton.

A fake news site called The Denver Guardian claimed that an FBI agent who was heavily involved in investigating Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server had shot himself and his wife dead.

The apparent "murder-suicide" was likely designed to make Clinton's lack of criminal charges look like an inside job - but it was exposed as a hoax after The Denver Post analysed the article and greater website down to the finest detail.

They found that the organisation's domain name had only just been registered, had referred to non-existent place names and fake sources, and listed its address as a parking lot.

CNN, the US television network that many Kiwis will be watching with interest this afternoon, apparently reported that voting machine problems across the country - at least, according to Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump.

The truth of the matter is that there were voting machine problems, and CNN had reported them - but they were on a much smaller scale than his tweet suggested.

CNN later addressed Trump's claims on a live broadcast, saying there were machine problems across the 'county', not the 'country'.

NBC-affiliate WRCB is being accused of prematurely publishing its election results, adding to theories the vote is rigged by the media and no one's votes matter.

Clinton will only just beat Trump with 42 percent of the vote to 40 percent, if their early preparation is to be believed.

It's not.

The display was just testing how the winner check mark and layout appears on different platforms, from the system powered by the Associated Press.

"AP goes to great lengths to clearly mark test data and advises its customers to do the same," said AP Media Relations Manager Lauren Easton.

It could have just as easily have been Trump displayed - and that still wouldn't have been evidence of vote rigging.

Urban Outfitters was put in a bit of an awkward situation when it tried to encourage its audience to vote.

It published a very handy, tidy guide as to how to cast your vote on Election Day.

Unfortunately, it was wrong.

Urban Outfitters said voters needed a "voter's registration card", along with their usual ID, in order to vote.

No state requires such a registration card.

Thankfully, Urban Outfitters fixed their guide to just say you need your ID, depending on which state you're in.