News agency publishes 'fake news' on mosque shooting

Not long after publishing a grave warning of the consequences of “fake news,” the Daily Beast news website fell for a fake report claiming two “white supremacists” were in custody after the mosque shooting in Quebec on Sunday in which six people were killed.

The news site picked up on a fake news story spread by a parody Twitter account that it mistook for the newswire Reuters, Breitbart News reported.

The Daily Beast reported: “Police said two suspects were in custody after the attack. They were identified as white supremacists ‘David M. J. Aurine’ and ‘Mathieu Fornier,’ according to Reuters. This is not the first time the mosque has suffered from a hate crime. In July, a pig’s head was left at the mosque.”

The Daily Beast’s source, @ReutersBrk, posted the false account with the heading “Reuter New Braek” next to a Reuters logo that was missing the “s” in Reuters.

The account, which has spread numerous other hoaxes, has since been suspended by Twitter.

Heavy.com said the account, created in August 2016, has tweeted fake news about mass shootings, including identifying the Fort Lauderdale airport gunman as alt-right personality Mike Cernovich. It also claimed Republican strategist Rick Wilson attempted to assassinate Donald Trump.

The Daily Caller noted the Daily Beast has been a frequent critic of the “fake news” phenomenon.

It published a story in December titled “Fake News Purveyors and Trump’s Conspiracy Theorists Have Real World Consequences.”

The article warned of “the dangers of fake news, wherein unfounded accusations are shared rapidly on online forums and social media among people unable or unwilling to distinguish between rumor and fact.”

The Daily Beast later corrected its story on the mosque shooting and added an editor’s note:

Editor’s note: This piece originally stated that Reuters reported the names of the assailants. However, the information came from a Reuters parody social-media account. We regret the error and have deleted the information.

Other journalists who fell for the hoax on social media included Yahoo News’ Garance Franke-Ruta, VICE News’ Tamara Khandaker and James Miller, the managing editor of the Interpreter.

‘Too good to check’

Authorities arrested a Moroccan-Canadian, Mohamed el Khadir, along with a white university student, Alexander Bissonnette, Sunday night after the shooting at the Quebec City Islamic Cultural Center during evening prayers. But Khadir is not longer facing charges and is said to be a witness.

Reports cited witnesses saying a gunman shouted “Allahu Akbar,” Arabic for “Allah is the greatest,” before opening fire.

Responding to the reporting of the hoax tweet, Thomas Lifson, editor of the American Thinker, called it “a perfect example of a story that is ‘too good to check,’ as the old (but suddenly relevant) journalists’ joke has it.”

“In the eagerness to confirm a narrative that would indirectly blame President Trump for an outbreak of anti-Islam violence in the wake of his seven-country entry pause, evidently, no one at The Daily Beast noticed,” he wrote.

Robert Spencer, publisher of Jihad Watch, said the “hoax furthered their narrative, so the Daily Beast jumped on it.”

Canada’s Global News reported the tweet was retweeted more than 1,000 times in about one hour. Many Twitter users commented the tweet was obviously false, noting a lot of “fake news” was circulating about the attack.

Meanwhile, Canadian Press reported two of the world’s biggest digital information platforms say they’re getting ready to roll out tools in Canada designed to crack down on so-called “fake news.”

( Source )

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