Fake News: British Police Did NOT Find Putin's Passport at Scene of Salisbury Poison Attack

Hoax Alert

  • by: Maarten Schenk
Fake News: British Police Did NOT Find Putin's Passport at Scene of Salisbury Poison Attack

Was Russian President Vladimir Putin's passport really found at the scene of the Salisbury poison attack on Sergei Skripal and his daughter? That attack did happen and Britain really suspects Putin is behind it but the passport story is fictional and originated on a satire website.

Satirical website The Postillion published an article on March 16, 2018 titled "British police find Putin's passport at scene of Salisbury poison attack" (archived here) which opened:

Salisbury (dpo) - Last doubts over Russia's guilt in poisoning former spy Sergei Skripal have been eliminated. As the British government announced today, the passport of Russian president Vladimir Putin was found at the scene in Salisbury.
According to Prime Minister Theresa May, the passport was only now found in another search of the scene, as it had been hidden under a fallen leaf.
"Russia has 24 hours to extradite Vladimir Putin for questioning in London", according to a statement issued by the British government. "Refusal will be taken as admission of guilt."

That story was the translation of a German orignal.

The Postillon has a disclaimer on it's FAQ page that reads:

1. Are these true news and stories?
No, everything you can read here is satire and therefore all made-up. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

The site is the English version of the German original der-postillon.com, another well-known satire website.

People who only saw the story on social media might have gotten the impression it is real because they only got to see the title, image and description. Or they may have just thought the story was funny. In any case it went quite viral with thousands of Facebook engagements in just a few hours time:

British police find Putin's passport at scene of Salisbury poison attack

Salisbury (dpo) - Last doubts over Russia's guilt in poisoning former spy Sergei Skripal have been eliminated. As the British government announced today, the passport of Russian president Vladimir Putin was found at the scene in Salisbury.

Don't be fooled!

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  Maarten Schenk

Lead Stories co-founder Maarten Schenk is our resident expert on fake news and hoax websites. He likes to go beyond just debunking trending fake news stories and is endlessly fascinated by the dazzling variety of psychological and technical tricks used by the people and networks who intentionally spread made-up things on the internet.  He can often be found at conferences and events about fake news, disinformation and fact checking when he is not in his office in Belgium monitoring and tracking the latest fake article to go viral.

Read more about or contact Maarten Schenk

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