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There’s A Twitter War Going On Between Rival Groups Of Fake Football Journalists

Disgusting.

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Forest Echo News started last year when a group of friends set up three fake football journalist accounts to tweet rumours. Then other people created fake journalists and said they worked for @ForestEchoNews, too. Now they're all tweeting about Euro 2016 and things are getting out of hand.

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"We thought it'd be funny if gullible people on the internet fell for our rumours but we never intended to get this big," said a man who responded to direct messages sent to the Forest Echo News Twitter account.

He said his name is Craig Sainsbury and that he's one of the co-founders of Forest Echo News.

"It was all a joke between friends that just blew up," he said.

Sainsbury estimates there are now "close to 100" Twitter accounts that declare an affiliation with Forest Echo News.

"We don't even know these people yet they report on behalf of us," he said.

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They also tweet straight-faced rumors — and real news organizations keep getting fooled. A false Rowntree tweet about a Spanish player being removed from his team was picked up by a large U.K. media outlets.

"We think it's hilarious that other media have stupidly fallen for our rumours and it just goes to show that we shouldn't trust everything the media spews at us," Sainsbury said.

Some media have tried to call out the fakes. SportsJoe.ie did an early debunking of Rowntree and Forest Echo News after the fake reporter tweeted that fans unveiled a banner that read, "IRA and ISIS: comrades in arms against Britain."

But the hoax accounts keep growing in number — and now there's even a rival fake football news organization on Twitter that's going after Forest Echo News. No, really.

On June 14 someone createdthe @WoodsEchoNews account, and the two fake news services are now at war. One hoax reporter claimed he left Forest Echo News to join Woods Echo News, and then tweeted a rumor about one of his former colleagues:

Asked via Twitter direct message why they decided to created a rival fake football news organization, the Woods Echo News account replied:

Rival to whom? We are unparalleled in our depth of reporting. We are here to go where no other news outlet has gone before.

Just so we're all clear: There are multiple, possibly adult people in different countries using fake Twitter accounts to insult other fake Twitter accounts, and to invent offensive football chants, all in the name of securing fake football news supremacy on Twitter.

Oh, and they're fooling supposedly legitimate media in the process.

The internet, man.

Craig Silverman is Media Editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in Toronto.

Contact Craig Silverman at craig.silverman@buzzfeed.com.

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