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Fake 'Harry Potter' news causes Facebook freakout


People put all kinds of news on Facebook — personal news, real news and then there's The Onion news (which is totally fake and fun). But not everyone gets that The Onion is a spoof, and with Facebook's water-cooler factor, "bad news" can spread fast and upset the masses, especially when it's about a well-known boy wizard by the name of "Harry Potter."

When an Onion posting about the "Final Minutes of Last Harry Potter Movie To Be Split Into Seven Separate Films" hit the social networking site, some took the joke to heart, protesting mightily on Facebook. That's where a new website, "Literally Unbelievable" stepped in to help sort the out the Wizards from the Muggles, so to speak, and bring the truth to the fore. 

Hudson Hongo, a 24-year-old writer, started the site May 20 specifically to showcase "stories from The Onion as interpreted by Facebook." The impetus was an Onion story about Planned Parenthood opening an "abortionplex," which engendered heated and unprintable responses on Facebook, as did the Potter send-up.

“I found the sheer number of people reading Onion articles sincerely (across the political spectrum) a surprise,” he told Mashable recently. “I wasn’t sure whether it was crueler to share these remarkable texts publicly or to keep them to myself. Then I got bored and just did it.”

Some Potter fans were certainly taken in by The Onion report shared on Facebook.

"In response to The Onion story about the Harry Potter movie, for instance, one woman posted, 'it sounds legit…it came straight from warner bros…click on the link and watch the video it tells you how they’ll do it.' " Mashable noted.

Being in the real news biz, we appreciate The Onion for what it does to provide some levity, if not truth. And we only wish this part of its Harry Potter report were true:

"Producers of the new Cameron Diaz film, 'Bad Teacher,' have decided to split that movie into zero parts and never release it."

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