Watch Out for False Information On the Notre-Dame Fire
As any breaking news event, the tragic Notre-Dame fire, which destroyed the roof of the Parisian cathedral, has been followed by a lot of disinformation. Here is what you should be looking out for.
1. No, There’s No Proof That the Fire Has Been ‘Intentionally Set’ or ‘a Terrorist Attack’
A tweet from Christopher J Hale, a Time columnist, has propelled the “arson” theory. “A Jesuit friend in Paris who works in #NotreDame told me cathedral staff said the fire was intentionally set”, he wrote, adding in a second tweet: “I should note that he has zero evidence beyond what the staff said. So qualify this as an unsubstantiated rumor.”
Other pieces of misleading information have been circulating, claiming that the fire was the consequence of a terrorist attack. In Spain, the website Alerta Digital has published this baseless claim, reports Maldito Bulo.
2. No, Gas Tanks Have Not Been Found Near Notre-Dame on the Day of the Fire
3. There Was No Man Standing Next to the Fire While It Started. It’s a Statue of the Virgin
From AFP Factuel – A conspiracy theory has spread on French social media, involving a picture in which we can see the figure of a person standing next to the fire. This figure is the one of “la Vierge du trumeau du portail du Cloître”, as you can see here:
4. Yes, This Picture of Notre Dame and the Eiffel Tower Is Real
5. No, This Is Not the Second Time Notre-Dame Has Been Burning
From 20 Minutes – This misleading tweet claims that the cathedral was bombed during the First World War. It has not, and the pictures on the tweet are from the Cathedral of Reims.
6. There’s No Proof That the Notre-Dame Fire Has Any Link With Past Vandalism
Many people, on social media and in interviews, have been linking the fire with previous acts of vandalism against churches. There indeed has been on 17 March, even though the culprit and their motive are still unknown. There was another fire . The investigation is still ongoing but the Grenoble prosecutor said there was “95% chances” the fire was accidental, even though an they were responsible. There are about two acts of vandalism against churches every day in France, including satanic, neo-nazi, anarchist or Islamist graffitis, according to the ministry of Interior .
The baseless link between those acts of vandalism and the Notre-Dame fire has been made, for instance, by Philippe Karsenty, a controversial local politician from Neuilly-sur-Seine’s city council, on Fox News.
(This story has been published in an arrangement with the FactCheck EU Initiative.)
(The Quint is now available on Telegram. For handpicked stories every day, subscribe to us on Telegram)