Thousands of people have been duped by a parody BBC reporter on Twitter.
A tweet posted by the fake account went viral yesterday, showing that the lines between reality and satire are becoming dangerously blurred.
The parody account, Natalie Hunter (whose bio reads “Chief political correspondent for BBC Scotlandshire), tweeted saying:
Hunter’s tweet refers to the complaint made by Jo Swinson, leader of the Liberal Democrats, that she has not been included in ITV’s upcoming televised general election debate. While broadcasters have said that her exclusion is due to her representing a smaller party, Swinson has claimed they are being sexist.
Swinson, however, did not criticise Nicola Sturgeon to a fake BBC reporter, despite the Twitter community’s clear confusion:
At the time of writing, the tweet has been shared 6,800 times, with 24,400 likes.
It’s difficult to figure out at a glance whether Hunter’s account is fake or not. Her profile picture is realistic, and “BBC” is included in her Twitter handle.
People are only able to work out that her tweets are fake by clicking on Hunter’s profile (which a very small proportion of people will choose to do). Her bio adds: “All views expressed could be mine, yours, parody, or somebody else’s.”
To us, it seems as though the person behind the account is trying everything possible to avoid publicising that their tweets are fake.
We all need to call out this sort of social media manipulation, to make sure the upcoming general election is not swayed by fake news.