You may have recently seen this headline in your Facebook feed: “Idaho Mother Sentenced To Prison After Multiple Citations For Breastfeeding In Public.”
The story comes from The Seattle Tribune, which alleges that Heather Watson, 32, faces seven years in prison after breast-feeding her daughter in public. It also says Watson is from the town of Wiser, Idaho, in Baker County.
But according to The Idaho Statesman, “neither of those places exist, nor does Heather Watson.”
The Statesmen reported that Watson's mugshot actually comes from a woman in Arizona who was previously arrested.
The recent breast-feeding story gained so much traction that fact-based Politifact clarified the false story in a post earlier this week.
“There is no outward indication the story is fake, but several clues should tip off readers this is a work of fiction,” according to Politifact. “There are no other news reports of this incident, beyond blog posts from incensed mothers. There also is no record of a Heather Watson at the Idaho Department of Correction offender search. (We doubt the story is about the British tennis player of the same name.)”
Politifact also pointed out that Baker County doesn’t exist, and that the Tribune’s main photo comes from a 2014 Flickr post.
Snopes.com reported that the Idaho story also appeared on Associated Media Coverage’s website, a known proprietor of fake news.
The website “previously incorrectly reporting that an Oregon elementary school had banned the Pledge of Allegiance, that a dead baby was found in a Walmart bin, and that 11 states had placed a curfew on motorcyclists,” according to Snopes.
The Seattle Tribune posted an article back in July with the headline “Teens Accidently Set Small Fire In Church While Attempting To ‘Scare Out’ Rare Pokémon.”4 comments on this story
The story alleged that a teenager with mental health issues set an LDS meetinghouse ablaze to scare out any Pokemon inside whilst playing "Pokemon Go."
“While attempting to obtain more poke-balls, he walked to the nearest ‘poke-stop’, a neighborhood LDS church located approximately a block away from where he was spending the night,” The Tribune wrote.
But the Idaho Statesmen said the story was likely a response to a real-life incident when two "Pokemon Go" players saw someone run away from a LDS church that had been set on fire.