Fake News: Chérif Chekatt NOT Killed So He Could Not Reveal He Was Acting on Government Orders

Fact Check

  • by: Maarten Schenk
Fake News: Chérif Chekatt NOT Killed So He Could Not Reveal He Was Acting on Government Orders

Was Chérif Chekatt, the terrorist who shot and killed several people in Strasbourg earlier this week killed by police to keep him from revealing he was acting on government orders? No, that's not true: the wild conspiracy theory was launched by a Belgian satire website aiming to make a point about wild conspiracy theories. It is not true and the article itself says so right away, directly below the headline.

The story originated from an article published by NordPresse on December 14, 2018 titled "Chérif Chekatt abattu afin qu'il ne puisse dire qu'il était aux ordres du gouvernement" (archived here) which opened:

Cet article a pour unique but de se moquer des conspirateurs qui le partageront au premier degré sans même le lire. Il leur permettra de consolider leur opinion, fondée uniquement après avoir vu une copie d'écran d'un compte tweeter du gouvernement qui ne s'est pas remis automatiquement remis à l'heure locale. Bien sûr, une fois qu'ils ont vu cette information, ils ne chercheront pas plus loin et ne se demanderont même pas, pourquoi personne n'a vu ce tweet avant 21 :00, alors qu'il aurait été posté à 16 :55.


This article has the sole purpose of making fun of the conspirators who will share it in the first degree without even reading it. It will allow them to consolidate their opinion, based only after seeing a screenshot of a government tweeter account that did not automatically reset to local time. Of course, once they have seen this information, they will not look any further and will not even wonder why no one saw this tweet before 9:00 PM while it would have been posted at 16:55 .

Users on social media would have only seen this title and thumbnail:

Chérif Chekatt abattu afin qu'il ne puisse dire qu'il était aux ordres du gouvernement

The reference to the tweet was about a conspiracy theory that went viral after an official government tweet announcing Chekatt's rampage seemed to have been published before the event happened. This was due to a mixup involving timezones:

Complotisme : un tweet antérieur à l'attaque de Strasbourg semble l'annoncer. Comment est-ce possible ?

Question posée par le 11/12/2018 Bonjour, On savait peu de choses de l'attaque aux abords du Marché de Noël de Strasbourg (Bas-Rhin) qui a eu lieu le soir du mardi 11 décembre, que déjà les premières rumeurs circulaient. L'une d'entre elle consistait à assurer que dès le matin, les autorités conseillaient aux internautes, sur Twitter, de rester chez eux.

Le Journal Du Nord (nordpresse.be) is a satirical website that was set up to mock the (real) sudpresse.be (since renamed sudinfo.be), a Belgian media group. They were involved in a lawsuit with each other in 2017 which was eventually won by NordPresse. It is run by Vincent Flibustier who also offers media training about fake news on his website, he clearly knows what he is talking about.

They have sort of a disclaimer in their header that reads:

Toute l'information vérifiée par nos analystes simiens

Translated: "all information verified by our monkey analysts".

We wrote about nordpresse.be before, here are our most recent articles that mention the site:

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  Maarten Schenk

Maarten Schenk is the co-founder and COO/CTO of Lead Stories and an 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.

Read more about or contact Maarten Schenk

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