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Fans looking for information on Justin Theroux and Selena Gomez may want to avoid some popular search engines. The internet is currently flooded with untrue stories about the pair being in a romance. Unfortunately, this fake news is topping search results, despite transparent debunkings.

On Wednesday, Life & Style falsely alleged Theroux and Gomez were becoming "more than friends." The tabloid tried to sell its manufactured narrative with an outright lie: It took a picture of Gomez at charity gala last November and used digital editing to superimpose a separate image of Theroux, taken at a premiere in September, over the body of the man with whom she actually posed. This deception underscored the bogusness of the entire cover story, which went against credible reports from reliable outlets who had already reported that in the wake of a split from Justin Bieber, Gomez is focused on herself right now and not interested in a relationship.

But more misinformation was spread when HollywoodLife claimed to know Jennifer Aniston was "furious" over the Gomez-Theroux "dating rumors." The "Friends" star's spokesperson confirmed to Gossip Cop that the story was a fabrication. And then Celebrity Insider took things even further with a piece that wrongly alleged Theroux and Gomez were not only "dating," but "totally in love." In each of these cases, Gossip Cop presented counter-evidence to bust the claims.

The problem now is two-fold: One, a number of websites have chosen to pick up the fiction instead of the facts. And two, popular search engines are promoting the fake news instead of the corrections, or instead of other legitimate news about these stars. For example, as seen in the first screengrab below, two of the results in Top Stories are showcasing content that has already been rightfully disputed. And the other questionable result being prioritized further contributes to the phony storyline by offering a ridiculous premise: "Twitter thinks" Gomez and Theroux are dating, so they must be.

That, of course, is not how journalism works. And while search engines may not see themselves as journalistic enterprises, they are a service used to lead consumers to information. Users should be able to count on seeing trustworthy resources, not ones spreading untruthful claims. This is an ongoing problem, and Gossip Cop remains committed to highlighting it as necessary. Last week, for example, we pointed out how fake news about Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt having a baby together was topping search engines, despite transparent evidence that the allegations were indisputable lies.

Fact-checking is just one part of the war on fake news. Corrections must be given prominence. And websites offering falsehoods should not be what fans first see when looking up their favorite stars online.

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Our Verdict

Gossip Cop has determined this story is totally false.


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