Don’t panic. Roblox, Minecraft and Fortnite are not shutting down

CBC Kids News • Published 2020-01-14 16:15

Fake headlines can be traced back to a prank website

Is Roblox shutting down? What about Minecraft? Or Fortnite?

The rumours have been flying about all three of these games in recent weeks.

So, is it true? Will kids be forced to power down and pick up knitting or chess, instead?

Nope.

(Nothing against knitting or chess, by the way, but, phew!)

Tweet from Doubledount says Is Roblox shutting down??? Next to image of pretend email with title: Sad Party?

On Tuesday, the Roblox team returned a call from CBC Kids News and confirmed the multiplayer game-building platform is alive and well.

The company posted an official clarification on Twitter a few hours later.

Tweet from Roblox says Let's set things straight: Roblox isn't shutting down. The same hoax goes around every year or two.

Spokesperson Emmalee Kremer also pointed to a blog post by Roblox CEO and co-founder David Baszucki, posted on the Roblox site on Jan. 6, which speaks to all the ways the company managed to expand in 2019.

“I have a feeling that 2020 is going to be even bigger and better than ever,” he said in the post.

Image of planet with words Roblox 2019, over 100 million monthly active users worldwide

In a blog post from Jan. 6, Roblox CEO David Baszucki said the game attracted 100 million monthly active users in 2019 and the company continues with its plans for expansion. (blog.roblox.com)

The Minecraft team also responded to CBC Kids News right away when asked if the Lego-style adventure game was shutting down.

"There is no need for concern,” said spokesperson Robert Sauer. "We are still actively developing and expanding Minecraft."

Epic Games, the company that owns the multi-player shooter game, Fortnite, also chimed in.

"Nope, Fortnite is not shutting down," said spokesperson Nick Chester in an email to CBC Kids News.

Headline says Fortnite is shutting down in June 22, 2020 with what looks like a Facebook post: Fortnite will be shutting down on September 26th 2018... We just simply can't keep up with the big demand. It was fun whilst it lasted! A big thank you from everyone at Epic Games! And note in small writing at the top says It's a joke, you've been pranked!

In this sample of a fake story generated on the React2424.com website, a small note at the top of the page identifies it as a joke. (React.2424.com)

Where did the rumours start?

While it’s hard to pinpoint exactly, it seems many of the fake headlines about popular games being shut down were generated on a website called React2424.

The site allows people to build pretend news stories on the site anonymously and share them on social media.

React2424 has not yet responded to a request for comment from CBC Kids News, but instructions on the website frame these pranks as funny jokes.

Still, given the hysteria from Roblox, Minecraft and Fortnite fans this week, it seems we’d all benefit from a refresher on how to detect fake news.

Roblox powering imagination logo on laptop screen.

Roblox users got a bit nervous this week when rumours started circulating that the game was shutting down. Robolox has confirmed that isn’t happening. (Lionel Bonaventure/AFP/Getty Images)

Understanding fake news

There are two ways the truth can get twisted online.

Disinformation is the word used to describe false information that’s shared with the goal of misleading people.

Misinformation describes what happens when people share those stories without realizing they aren’t true.

In this case, it seems both disinformation and misinformation were at play.

Tips for identifying fake news

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