Fake News: Doomsday asteroid will destroy the Earth in February 2017?
Several years ago, there were rumors spreading about an asteroid that would hit earth come February 16th, 2017. The article that supposedly confirmed this happening was posted by an author called Dr. Dyomin Damir Zakharovich, a self-proclaimed Russian astronomer. He made this claim in January 2017 stating that the 2016 WF9 asteroid will crash into earth causing many to die with a massive tsunami. This caused havoc among people all over the world. Dr. Zakharovich said, “The object they call WF9 left the Nibiru system in October when Nibiru began spinning counter clockwise around the sun. Since then, NASA has known it will hit Earth but they are only telling people now and telling lies.” While the asteroid itself was found to be real by NASA, it was later confirmed that it would, in fact, not be colliding with Earth in the foreseeable future. Upon further research and investigation, this article was found to be just another fake news story that floats on the internet today.
A google search of the asteroid WF9 brings up almost no information about the asteroid itself, but plenty of articles about the rumor that it would be colliding with earth. The article had been spreading for over a month before it was apparently supposed to hit the earth. Plenty of people panicked, fearing life threatening tsunamis that would destroy the majority of the world. The original article even claimed that NASA was keeping the asteroid a secret, when in reality they did not need to share the information because they had already found it to be without any threat. This caused concern from scientists worrying that it would add to the “anti-scientist sentiment” when the asteroid didn’t actually hit. Zakharovich’s article then began to appear in less-credible publications, easing concern from real journalists and astronomers.
FACT CHECK: Will a Doomsday Asteroid Destroy Earth in February 2017?
On 25 January 2017, the Daily Mail published a report with the terrifying headline: "A doomsday asteroid will hit Earth…
If you look up the name Dr. Dyomin Damir Zakharovich, many articles will pop up about the article being false. There is over 50 articles talking about how this topic is fake information being spread out to the public. This claim even got NASA involved who has a ton of credibility in this topic. According to Snopes, NASA responded to the people by saying, “2016 WF9 will approach Earth’s orbit on Feb. 25, 2017. At a distance of nearly 32 million miles (51 million kilometers) from Earth, this pass will not bring it particularly close. The trajectory of 2016 WF9 is well understood, and the object is not a threat to Earth for the foreseeable future.” Each search result I have read states the same information leading to the conclusion that this information was false and very misleading.
With the internet being used by millions of people, and its rapid growth, anyone can post an article, report, or information online. Not all of this information is true and people need the think before they react. People need to be critical thinkers and evaluate the information they are reading. There are a vast amount of misleading and false websites out there to deceive people. With websites such as Snopes, and other fact checker websites, you can easily find out what articles or post are false.
Kasprak, Alex. “FACT CHECK: Will a Doomsday Asteroid Destroy Earth in February 2017?” Snopes.com, 2 Feb. 2017, www.snopes.com/fact-check/will-a-doomsday-asteroid-destroy-earth-in-february-2017/.
Live, Daily Buzz. “Doomsday Asteroid To Hit Earth And Set Off String Of Mega-Tsunamis.” DailyBuzzLive.com, 28 Dec. 2020, www.dailybuzzlive.com/doomsday-asteroid-hit-earth-mega-tsunamis/.
Goyal, Nidhi. “Self-Proclaimed Astronomer Says the Asteroid 2016 WF9 Will Hit Earth and Set Off a String of Mega-Tsunamis.” Industry Tap, 12 Feb. 2017, www.industrytap.com/self-proclaimed-astronomer-says-asteroid-2016-wf9-hit-earth-set-off-string-mega-tsunamis/40886.
@TheNewDailyAU, The New Daily. “Don’t Be Fooled by That ‘Asteroid Collision’ Story.” The New Daily, 26 Nov. 2020, www.thenewdaily.com.au/news/world/2017/01/27/asteroid-2016-wf9-alarmist-story/.