'Fake Carla Bruni' Twitter account spreads Thatcher death rumour
Newswire covered in shame after hasty retweet
A fake celebrity Twitter account posing as that of outgoing French first lady Carla Bruni has been used to spread false rumours that former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher had died.
An update from the fake @CBruniOfficial Twitter account was retweeted without scrutiny by French news outlet @LesNews on Wednesday evening. In reality, the unverified @CBruniOfficial account-holder has no connection with the wife of recently deposed French president Nicolas Sarkozy, who apparently occasionally tweets under the handle @mmesarkozy. The fake news also spread to Francophone Canada, where a former Quebec provincial party leader was taken in.
CNN contacted Thatcher's official spokesperson, who quickly debunked the claims about the death of the
milk snatcher Iron Lady. This, in turn, prompted @LesNews to delete its original tweets, and post an apology for unintentionally misleading its 100,000 plus followers.
The whole incident illustrates the perils of credulously accepting anything that might be posted onto a social network without double-checking its source or veracity, a point discussed in greater depth on Sophos's Naked Security blog here.
The offending tweet can still be viewed here. A subsequent update to @CBruniOfficial claims the 4,000-plus follower account is being run by an Italian journalist. A quick scan of the updates reveals mildly satirical claims that the former French first couple might move to Spain following Sarko's election defeat last weekend and an update in which "Carla" expresses an interest in appearing in a Pedro Almodóvar film. ®
It was a deeply offensive and sick thing to do. Shame on them for such a hoax. It caused terrible distress.........
Can you imagine how humiliated I was after I had spent 5 minutes singing "Ding Dong, The Witch Is Dead" at the top of my voice in the office?
3/10 must try harder.
Spelling errors: "education", "you're", "at".
Grammar errors: superfluous repetition of "again" in first clause; should be a semicolon or even full stop rather than a comma between "strikes again" and "you're too young"; overall an unwieldy and awkwardly-constructed run-on sentence that probably should have been a two or three sentence paragraph.
Factual errors: She did no such thing. She was Education Secretary at the time and the decision to withdraw milk was hers, as was the "Education (Milk) Bill 1971" which she introduced into and shepherded through the commons. Are you really claiming she voted against her own bill? Don't be silly. Here she is, giving a speech moving it for its second reading. She quite clearly avows the whole thing.
......we ever had.