Notre Dame fire
Even before the Notre Dame fire was extinguished, conspiracy theories and false news had flooded the Internet.
The most notorious examples of misinformation originated in the darkest corners of the Internet, but many other rumors managed to reach larger audiences through social networks.
A prominent theory of the conspiracy revolved around that supposedly the Notre Dame fire had been deliberately started.
InfoWars, a marginal website known for spreading conspiracy theories, published a story that suggested that the fire had been intentionally provoked.
The claim was based only on an erroneous tweet, which was then removed. The story of InfoWars is still online.
Paris prosecutor Rémy Heitz said that while the cause of the fire has not been established, it is likely to be “accidental”.
“Nothing proves to be an intentional act,” he told a news conference on Tuesday.
However, some social network users made claims that went beyond what InfoWars reported. On Twitter, a fake account made to look like one operated by CNN said the fire was an act of terrorism.
The account, which was created in April, was removed several hours after CNN publicly denounced it on Twitter.
Conspiracy theories about the origin of the fire were also abundant in the 4chan Internet message board, where users attacked the media for the information they were presenting about Notre Dame fire.
Some users of social networks with a large number of followers promoted conspiracy theories, and some tried to blame racial or religious minorities for the fire.
One strategy used old items unrelated to the fact that Catholic churches had been desecrated in France to imply that the Notre Dame fire was an intentional act.
Other accounts published an article with false information of 2016 about the gas tanks and the “Arab documents” that were discovered near the cathedral.
The large social networks apparently had difficulty in containing the dissemination of the content.
A YouTube function designed to combat misinformation even linked the Notre Dame fire Cathedral with the terrorist attacks of September 11. The company blamed the confusion of its algorithms.
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