Fact Check: BBC Did NOT Post Story Saying Ghislaine Maxwell Moved To Intensive Care as Coronavirus Symptoms Worsen

Hoax Alert

  • by: Maarten Schenk
Fact Check: BBC Did NOT Post Story Saying Ghislaine Maxwell Moved To Intensive Care as Coronavirus Symptoms Worsen Faked Image

Did the BBC accidentally publish and then pull a story saying Ghislaine Maxwell was moved to intensive care as coronavirus symptoms worsened? No, that's not true: the viral screenshot that appears to show a story dated July 11, 2020 is an obvious forgery based on an older story about Boris Johnson.

An example of the viral image can be seen in this Facebook post (archived here) published by Be Rob on July 2, 2020. This is what the post looked like on Facebook at the time of writing:

Facebook screenshot

(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Fri Jul 3 13:55:29 2020 UTC)

The image appears to show a BBC News article dated "11 July 2020" titled "Ghislaine Maxwell moved to intensive care as Coronavirus symptoms worsen", along with a picture of Maxwell captioned "Former socialite and Epstein associate Ghislaine Maxwell has been moved to intensive care in hospital after her coronavirus symptoms "worsened", the".

There is no story currently on the BBC website whith that headline and no traces seem to exist on social media of posts linking to the story.

However, on April 7, 2020 the BBC published a very similar (and real) story about Boris Johnson.

boris.jpg

(Source: screenshot of the BBC News website)

Note that this story is filed under "UK" news just like the supposed future Maxwell story. According to coverage from the New York Times Maxwell was arrested in New Hampshire and sent to New York:

Ms. Maxwell appeared Thursday afternoon in federal court in New Hampshire, where a magistrate judge ordered her detained and sent to New York, pending further proceedings there.

That would mean a real BBC story about her would likely be filed under World > US & Canada, as indeed it happened with the news of her arrest:

Maxwell.jpg

(Source: screenshot of the BBC News website)

An Instagram account named "watchermedia_" published the image (archived here) on July 2, 2020 and later edited their post to say it was a joke coming from the infamous 4chan forum:

Whoops, you weren't supposed to see that article yet!
Edit: THIS. IS. A. JOKE. It's an edit made on 4chan, the intention was to foreshadow coming events and make people laugh.
I never said that this was an official leaked BBC article, somebody else screenshoted my post and started spreading misinformation.
Please fact check for yourselves before jumping to conclusions.

This is what the Instagram post looked like:

watchermedia.jpg


  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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