Fake or fortune

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‘At least I can trust the source for this story…’

During a 40 year career as a journalist, for our Editor Phil Parry accurate information from trusted sources was always paramount, but now comes more evidence that the opposite is the case with increasing amounts of ridiculous fake ‘news’ circulating on the internet.

 

It amazes me that people are taken in.

Wildfires which ravaged Hawaii in the Summer were started by a secret “weather weapon” being tested by America’s armed forces, according to ‘news’ on the internet.

Olen Zelenska did NOT go on a huge shopping spree!

American Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) are apparently spreading Dengue Fever in Africa.

Olen Zelenska (Ukraine’s First Lady) went on a $1.1 million shopping spree in Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue, we have been told, and the Indian Prime Minister Narenda Modi has been endorsed in a new song by the star Mahendra Kapoor who died in 2008.

We have also been treated to ‘news’ about 5G masts being responsible for Covid-19 (with an accompanying video which went, er, viral on social media), that inhaling steam could ‘cure’ the disease, and that New York residents were rapping in unison to a big hit to relieve the boredom of lockdown.

Narendra Modi was NOT endorsed by a dead singer!

All of these ‘stories’ were fake, yet believed by people all over the world.

The video of the so-called 5G ‘story’ for example, purportedly showing people in China tearing down a 5G mobile antenna, was shared on social media 10s of thousands of times.

The ‘story’ about families in Brooklyn, in New York, rapping in unison to one of The Notorious B.I.G.’s biggest hits during lockdown sounded plausible, but was in fact complete drivel.

The internet supports fake news

Even so a video which made the extraordinary claim was shared 10s of thousands of times on social media, clocking-up more than one million views in a few days.

The recording is a perfect match for a video from a Jay-Z concert in 2010, and has been pinpointed to Manhattan not Brooklyn.

Mobile phone masts were set alight, but they had nothing to do with the spread of Covid-19

The star actor Woody Harrelson, who has two million Instagram followers, apparently endorsed the 5G ‘news’, by posting the video, and declaring: “Meanwhile the Chinese are bringing 5g antennas down”.

This video IS genuine but it’s old and in fact shows protesters in Hong Kong in August 2019 tearing down what was reported to be a ‘smart lamp post’ equipped to collect data.

It was shared as false rumours about a link between 5G and Covid-19 spread on social media, and the absurd ‘information’ about steam being a cure, could actually be harmful because it could lead to serious burns. Yet one example of this ‘tip’ was shared on social media more than 40,000 times.

Some ‘facts’ are just not true, but were believed

It appears to come from a Facebook (FB) user in Durham, who wrote he had heard “first hand that a doctor who had Corona virus recovered in double quick time” after inhaling steam. A similar message has taken different forms – coming from someone’s ‘sister in London‘, ‘Queens NY’ and ‘a sister from Pakistan‘.

Fake news and conspiracy theories like these are dangerous.

Posts with images of hospital beds and patients being treated on the streets went viral on social media, along with the claim that hospitals in Italy had run out of space due to the spread of coronavirus.

The images being shared WERE genuine, but they were not from Italy – they were taken in the Croatian capital, Zagreb, after it was hit by an earthquake. The most widely shared post about it seems to have originated just as the Government in Italy imposed a nationwide lockdown. Altogether it has been shared more than 17,000 times.

A Russian scientist has said that a man-made bacterium had somehow merged with the (at the time) new coronavirus and was the reason people were dying. He recommended baking soda to treat it. The interview appeared on a popular Russian YouTube channel and has had more than four million views.

People BELIEVE this stupid nonsense…

There is, sadly, ever more examples of this nonsense today, and with important elections this year fake ‘news’ like this could even have a damaging effect on democratic processes around the world.

NEWS SHOULD COME FROM TRUSTED SOURCES!

 

The memories of Phil’s decades-long award-winning career in journalism (when news was always accurate) as he was gripped by the rare disabling condition Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia (HSP), have been released in a major book ‘A GOOD STORY’. Order it now!

‘BUY MY BOOK!’

Regrettably publication of another book, however, was refused, because it was to have included names.

Tomorrow – REAL news: how accusations of a conflict of interest have arisen amid a disturbing row over information that the National Museum in Cardiff may have to close because of its deteriorating condition.