No, aliens did not abduct 30 children in Ohio

Aliens spaceship beams up abductees. Pic credit: Pixabay

A recent viral Facebook post falsely claimed aliens landed in an Ohio backyard and abducted 30 children.

The message posted on June 8 (see an archived image of the Facebook post here) shows a news broadcast by the Las Vegas TV station 8 News Now under the heading: “8-9 foot being abducted 30 children in Ohio while orange smoke covers NYC.”

[Note: We didn’t link to the original Facebook post because we don’t want to promote social media misinformation.]

A caption below the image reads: “Aliens land in backyard!! 30 Ohio children gone missing.”

Facebook flagged the post as a hoax

The poster seemingly intended to make Facebook users believe that the Las Vegas TV station 8 News Now reported that aliens abducted 30 children in Ohio.

Facebook flagged it with the warning message: “False information: checked by independent fact-checkers.”

Facebook further explained: “Independent fact-checkers say this information has no basis in fact.”

Hoax: Aliens did not land in an Ohio backyard and abduct 30 children

The Facebook hoax conflated two different incidents that recently made media headlines:

1. Alien UFO allegedly crashed in a Las Vegas Backyard

Aliens did not land in the backyard of an Ohio family.

The hoax seemed partly inspired by a recent news report about a Las Vegas family who claimed they saw 8-10 feet tall aliens in their backyard after a UFO crashed there.

Paranormal Papers reported that at about 12:25 a.m. on May 1, a member of the Gomez family in Las Vegas called 911 and reported that a UFO crashed in their backyard with a loud bang. The caller said they sighted a strange-looking humanoid about 8-10 feet tall hiding behind a forklift.

The 911 call came after locals sighted a green light in the sky.

However, police officers did not find evidence of a crashed UFO or aliens hiding in the family’s backyard.

2. Missing children in Cleveland, Ohio

The post also seemed partly inspired by media reports about 30 children missing in the Cleveland area.

On May 16, Cleveland’s 19 News reported that Cleveland Police Department records showed that about 27 children between the ages of 12 and 17 had gone missing since May 2 of the same year.

The report noted with concern that 27 cases occurred within two weeks, compared with 56 over the last few years. It implied a sudden dramatic surge in reports of missing children.

However, police authorities did not say that aliens abducted the children. They said most of the missing children were runaways.

No link between Las Vegas UFO and missing Ohio children

Despite the clarification, people began speculating on social media, while some promoted conspiracy theories about child trafficking rings operating in Cleveland. The wild speculation eventually forced Cleveland police to issue statements addressing online “misinformation.”

USA Today reported that Ohio Police Chief John Majoy said recent reports about children missing in the Cleveland area had nothing to do with the alleged UFO crash and alien sighting in Las Vegas.

Orange smoke covers New York City

The bizarre Facebook hoax also mentioned orange smoke covering New York City, an apparent reference to news reports about smoke from Canadian wildfires spreading an “orange haze” over New York City.

The hoax went viral on Facebook

Despite being obviously a hoax, the message went viral on Facebook.

As of 9 p.m.ET on June 23, it had received 11.5k likes, 9.0k shares, and 1.9k comments.

Reactions on Facebook

The response to the post suggests that some Facebook users believed the information. However, most users were skeptical and demanded evidence or proof.

“Full video?” one user queried.

“No video, it didn’t happen,” a second user protested.

Some Facebook users warned others that the post conflated two separate news stories.

“This audio is from the aliens that landed in Las Vegas,” a Facebook user wrote “… This is not cool. So many children going missing, and whoever created this stupid fake reel using it to get likes.”

“The 30 kids from Ohio has nothing to do with this video at all! 2 different stories!” another user responded.

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