Twitter has known for months that fake news has dire consequences, and now, two instances of fake news have created quite a stir globally, even to the extent of possibly triggering a nuclear war.
Pakistan-Israel Twitter dispute
A false story recently claimed that Israel was threatening to nuke Pakistan if it sent troops into Syria. In reply, Pakistani Defense Minister Khawaja M. Asif warned Israel that if necessary, his country would retaliate with nuclear weapons. Later, however, the defense minister backtracked and said that his country was peaceful and had nukes solely as a deterrence to protect their freedom.
This, however, came only after Israel’s Ministry of Defense stated that the insulting statement, which was attributed to former Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon, was not even real, notes Engadget.
@KhawajaMAsif The statement attributed to fmr Def Min Yaalon re Pakistan was never said
— Ministry of Defense (@Israel_MOD) December 24, 2016
The fault was mostly on Khawaja M. Asif. One would expect the defense minister of a country to be extra careful while writing such things on Twitter or believing news sources so quickly. Also one would expect the defense minister to think twice before posting tweets that hint at the use of nuclear weapons, which could kill millions of people, notes Engadget.
This also illustrates the importance of fighting false news, whether it is by downplaying its presence, starving it of advertisement money or blocking it. Fact-checking news could prevent these international incidents from happening in the future.
No, Britney Spears is not dead
In a separate incident, after a hacking hoax spread rumors that Britney Spears died, the 35-year-old pop star shared a collage on Twitter to put an end to those rumors. The collage had four pictures of the pop star making funny faces at the camera while holding her index finger out and giving a thumbs-up.
Spears, who has about 50 million followers on Twitter, wrote, “Don’t underestimate the power of Charlie’s [angel emoji].”
Earlier on Monday, fans of the singer were left confused, upset and shocked when the global account for Sony Music tweeted that the 35-year old pop star had passed away. Soon, a representative for Sony confirmed that the tweets were actually a part of a hack. The Sony representative said that their Twitter account was hacked and that the tweets have been deleted now.
“The twitter was hacked and the tweets are now deleted. Britney Spears is alive and well,” the representative said.
The initial tweet simply said “RIP @britneyspears #RIP 1981-2016.”