Fake Bots Are Using The Grenfell Tower Block Fire To Get More Followers And It’s Not OK

Trolls are posting photos of fake missing people from the London tower block fire.

Fake Bots Are Using The Grenfell Tower Block Fire To Get More Followers And It’s Not OK

by Tara Lepore |
Published on

Many of us woke up this morning to the horrifying news of a fatal fire at the Grenfell Tower block in west London, which has killed at least six people and left many others in critical care.

While the cause was still unknown at the time of writing, there have been reports of residents’ fire safety warnings being ignored by Kensington and Chelsea Council since 2013, and this - along with accounts of smoke alarms not sounding until the fire had reached dangerous levels, and firefighters’ telling residents just last weekend to ‘stay put’ in the event of a fire - will certainly raise questions about social housing conditions in the UK.

But as the news broke this morning, lots of people were quickly noticing appeals for missing people on Twitter - and ousting them as fakes.

Yep, we’re seeing it again - fake Twitter accounts are stealing random photos from the internet and asking users to retweet ‘until they’re found’ - when the appeals are totally bogus. We saw it in the aftermath of the suicide attack at the Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, where teenage girls were finding their, or their friends’, pictures being shared on social media as ‘missing people’ from the concert, when they weren’t even there at all.

This morning, there were several trolls quick to upload fake photos - including this ‘appeal’ to find the Youtube star Mars Aguirre.

And this one.

Twitter has said it is working on ways to combat fake accounts, but it's clear a solution needs to come quickly. Not only do these fake tweets spread misinformation, but they waste the time of emergency services trying to find actual missing people who are at risk of danger.

However, it is worth saying that there are appeals for missing people on Twitter that are 100% genuine, and raising awareness by sharing photographs CAN help find people and reassure their loved ones.

It’s just worth checking whether the account the tweet’s been posted from, looks like the real deal, which you can do pretty easily by having a quick look at their photo, bio, and previous tweets. If you believe it to be fake, it might also be worth bringing it to other people’s attention. It’ll only take another couple of seconds, but it’s worth doing to avoid spreading fake information.

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Follow Tara on Twitter @taralepore

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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