Conspiracy theories about the Notre Dame fire are already beginning to spread

4chan, Reddit, and Twitter are rife with fake news about the catastrophe.

When the fire at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris began in the late afternoon on 15 April, millions of people across the world began to pour out sympathy for Parisians, sadness at the loss of the historic landmark, and, inevitably, holiday photos snapped while visiting the iconic building. But among the sympathetic messages posted about Notre Dame cathedral came another type of post – fake news, misinformation, and conspiracy theories about what caused the fire. As with most major tragedies in the last decade, misinformation about Notre Dame began to spread almost immediately. Within a matter of hours, conspiracy theories were flourishing online.

False claims surrounding the fire have found a home on sites like 4chan, Twitter, Reddit, and InfoWars. “MAN ARRESTED AFTER GAS TANKS FOUND NEAR CATHEDRAL, SUSPECT WAS ON FRENCH TERROR WATCH LIST”, “SUSPICIOUS LOOKING MAN SPOTTED ATOP NOTRE DAME CHAPEL AS ROOF IS A BLAZE”, and “Macron has probably set fire to Notre Dame to try and make the Yellow vests look bad” are typical of the messages that have been posted over the last 15 hours.

Notorious sites known for being sources of “fake news” – like Canadian website The Rebel – have begun crowdfunding trips to Paris to “investigate links” between the Notre Dame fire and potential “terrorist plots”. And while many of these stories are being pushed by anonymous users and accounts online, some have originated among verified Twitter users; journalists, ex-politicos, and social commentators.

1. InfoWars is baselessly writing that the fire was set deliberately.

Their only source is this tweet that has been deleted. Officials have not yet stated any causes for the fire so hang tight before getting conspiratorial. pic.twitter.com/IFD0b5Pask

— Jane Lytvynenko (@JaneLytv) April 15, 2019

Even though not all users commenting on the Notre Dame fire are sharing unverified claims, the seeds of doubt are being sown. “Does anybody find it suspicious that Notre Dame had been cleared of tourists the day before the fire?” one user posted on Reddit last night. “Makes no sense,” wrote a 4chan user. “The whole thing is starting to sink.”

Beyond misinformation, racist narratives and ironic posts about minority groups committing arson have spread across the internet. Ironic posts claiming “the Jews did it” are particularly popular online, with posts like this one on 4chan common – …read more

Source:: New Statesman

      

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Conspiracy theories about the Notre Dame fire are already beginning to spread

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