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Fake press release falsely reported partnership between Walmart, digital currency

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NEW YORK – A fake press release on Monday outlining a partnership between Walmart and digital currency Litecoin sparked a brief spate of inaccurate coverage from national news outlets and social media users.

The press release was “not real,” said Walmart spokeswoman Molly Blakeman. Charlie Lee, creator of Litecoin and executive director of the Litecoin Foundation, confirmed that the publication was fake.

The bogus announcement was temporarily made public in a major press release and in media outlets such as Reuters, CNBC and Yahoo Finance before being deleted and corrected. It wasn’t immediately clear who created it.

Lee confirmed in an email that the publication was fake. A Litecoin employee falsely tweeted the false claim from the currency’s verified account on Monday after seeing the fake announcement on GlobeNewswire, a major press release distributor, Lee said. The employee later realized his mistake and deleted the tweet, Lee said.

The release contained fabricated claims that Walmart would allow customers to pay for purchases using the digital currency starting October 1.

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