September 16, 2017 8:00 am
Updated: September 16, 2017 10:45 am

Parsons Green hoaxes show (again) why you can’t trust screenshotted tweets


The embarrassing-and-now-deleted tweet is a very tempting thing, apparently — if human folly doesn’t provide them (it often does), many people are tempted to help.

Back in the spring, we showed you how easy a fake tweet is to create, using nothing more complicated than the browser you already have. If you doubt this, try it yourself. (Chrome is best.)

The smoke had hardly cleared from the bomb attack this morning at London’s Parsons Green subway station before someone was demonstrating this all over again (see above).

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In brief:

The bomber used a shopping bag from Lidl, a discount grocery chain; the bomb didn’t go off properly, so the bag was left singed but intact; a troll wanted to seed the idea that an overzealous social media person at the company had used this to brag about how tough their bags were (and then had thought better of it). The result looked like this (or see above.)

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The production standards are higher than for some fake tweet screenshots out there. The creator didn’t go over 128 characters (your browser will let you cut and paste War and Peace into a tweet if you feel like it) and the embedded image looks almost exactly like a retweet (except that the likes and retweets of the original tweet don’t show in the retweet.) But pretty convincing, on the whole.

The original tweet was quickly imitated. Like the first one, the troll posed as an offended bystander:


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In fake news news:

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