20 October 2010, JellyBean @ 8:33 am

A few days ago it was reported that an entire village had been ‘abducted’ by glowing UFO’s in the Quinling mountains of China. Unfortunately this report was fake.

The “UFO’s” that were so eagerly reported have been proven to be bright spotlights on clouds from the nearby Xianyang City Square. Spotlights are common in cities in China, where they are often used as advertising for new shops, shop sales and the like.

The rumours began with a post on QQ (a popular Chinese messaging service like MSN) on 11 October which stated that unexplained lights were being seen on the mountain. From there the rumours grew and eventually included the ‘vanishing village’ on 13 October. These were duly reported by the Baidu Post.

Following the news item, reporters flocked to the area only to discover the truth: the whole thing was social networking rumours gone wild. The UFO’s were explained, no village had vanished and no army personnel were in the area. This was later confirmed by the China UFO Research Association.

This incident clearly demonstrates the power of social networking and how easy it is to create false rumours and reports which then go viral.

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