Some of the biggest newspapers in the country have moved quickly to either amend or delete articles from their sites this week - after reporting on a story which came from a fake news site.

Papers including the Independent, Daily Mail, Metro, and the Express were duped into reporting on how a Zimbabwean pastor - who apparently tried to walk on water like Jesus - failed in his attempt and was, instead, eaten by a crocodile.

The story, though, turned out to be fake, the root of which was quickly traced back to a site called National News Bulletin.

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Under the site’s ‘About Us’ section are three words: “Pure African Satire.”

READ MORE: Fighting fake news at The Herald

This, along with a simple Google search, would have revealed the story to have been entirely fabricated.

The red-faced titles have since sprung into action once the gaffe was laid bare.

While the Independent and Metro have since deleted the story, MailOnline has amended its copy with the heading: ‘Did a pastor REALLY get eaten by three crocodiles while proving he could walk on water? The truth behind the story that swept the Internet’.

The Express and another popular viral news site, UniLad, have decided to stick with the story which is currently still live on both.

Just 12 days ago, the Independent boasted how it has launched InFact, a tool which strives “to confront fake news head-on.”

HeraldScotland:
The sites' stories are still showing in Google (Credit: Google)

In a statement on its site, the newspaper said: “If we see parts of the media use and abuse the facts, we’ll aim to set the record straight.”

The major gaffe comes amid a fake news crisis which is gripping the internet and tarnishing online journalism.

The UK Parliament’s Culture, Media and Sport Committee launched an inquiry into fake news in January.

Kicking off the inquiry, Damian Collins MP, chair of the committee, described how fake news is “a threat to democracy,” further undermining confidence in the media in general.

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He added: “Just as major tech companies have accepted they have a social responsibility to combat piracy online and the illegal sharing of content, they also need to help address the spreading of fake news on social media platforms.

“Consumers should also be given new tools to help them assess the origin and likely veracity of news stories they read online.

“The committee will be investigating these issues, as well as looking into the sources of fake news, what motivates people to spread it, and how it has been used around elections and other important political debates.”