Bootnotes

Irony's lost on old Pope Francis: Pontiff decrees fake news a 'serious sin'

Oo, awkward

By Kat Hall

104 SHARE

Christmas is typically a busy time of year for the Holy Father, but thankfully Pope Francis has found time to decree that made-up stories are a "serious sin".

In fact, @Pontifex plans to dedicate his upcoming annual communications message to this pressing world problem of "fake news", according to Associated Press. He told Catholic media on Saturday that journalists perform a mission that is among the most "fundamental" to democratic societies.

But he reminded them to provide precise, complete, correct and unbiased reports.

The Pope said: "You shouldn't fall into the 'sins of communication': disinformation, or giving just one side, calumny that is sensationalised, or defamation, looking for things that are old news and have been dealt with and bringing them to light today."

He said those actions are a "grave sin that hurts the heart of the journalist and hurts others".

Francis has not shied away from addressing the problems brought by technology since his papacy began in 2013. He has previously told followers to put their smartphones away at dinner, warning that they risk damaging family life, and said happiness cannot be found in apps.

Anyway, thank God someone has taken the unprecedented step of speaking out against made-up stories that have no bearing in fact but are nonetheless taken as gospel... ®

Sign up to our NewsletterGet IT in your inbox daily

104 Comments

More from The Register

Facebook pulls 'snoopy' Onavo VPN from Apple's App Store after falling foul of rules

Cupertino banned software that slurps data for marketing

Facebook's new always-listening home appliance kit Portal doesn't do Facebook

Trust us, pleads the Zuck

Facebook sued for exposing content moderators to Facebook

Updated Endless series of beheadings and horrible images take mental toll, US lawsuit claims

Europe plans special tax for Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon

French minister says around two per cent of turnover sounds about right

Tim? Larry? We need to talk about smartphones and privacy

Congress sends Apple and Alphabet a 'please explain', perhaps because Oracle asked

Go Zuck Yourself: Facebook destroys patent suit over timeline

Chalk one up in court for the Social Network

Facebook gives third-party apps the all-clear

Social network says SSO-slurping miscreants didn't reuse tokens on third-party apps

Facebook Onavo Protect doesn't protect against Facebook

VPN app collects all sorts of details

Facebook flat-out 'lies' about how many people can see its ads – lawsuit

'Made-up PR numbers' used by social giant to exaggerate online advertising audience

Apple to require privacy policy on all apps

October iOS change reflects broader societal shift