At first, the news an infant had survived for 12 days in the burnt out remains of Grenfell Tower , seemed read as a genuine miracle in an otherwise tragic narrative.
Not only had the baby reportedly been alive since the blaze, but it had been apparently located on the sixteenth floor.
The story was tweeted out as ‘breaking news’, purported to have quotes from members of the police force involved in the investigation AND claimed Mayor Sadiq Khan had commented on the baby’s “miraculous survival.”
With the scope of the disaster and the full extent of the blaze still unfolding, it was the sort of story thousands of people jumped on and shared.
O M G!!!! A BABY HAS SURVIVED!! I just pray for a full recovery! Wow https://t.co/2QXxyG2lkt
— Tiffany Thomas (@Tiffany84) June 25, 2017
Baby rescued from grenfell twelve days after disaster- god really does work miracles x
— Nichola Burley (@NicholaABurley) June 26, 2017
The fact that it’s turned out to be a sick hoax has angered just as many people.
The site it was hosted on (Metro-uk, which has no relation to Metro.co.uk) also has previous form with fake news stories, having written about morgue workers being “accidentally cremated” and Nazi submarines being discovered in lakes.
But the Grenfell baby hoax is arguably the cruelest so far.
The ‘Grenfell baby’ isn’t the first time a tragedy has generated distressing and false accounts about supposed “survivors” and “victims” alike.
In the wake of the Manchester attack, cruel trolls widely posted and shared fake missing persons reports.
One mum even woke up to messages saying her daughter had been involved in the attack .
With the death toll at 79, and with many other residents still unaccounted for, frustration and desperation is mounting.
The media has also faced accusations of ‘playing down’ the number of deaths at the tower.
There are a number of reasons that the death toll being quoted in the news isn’t as high as people who live nearby are claiming.
The main one is that the police and fire services don’t want to tell the public anything they don’t know for certain is true.
Which is where fake news sites step in, instilling false hope in people still desperately searching for loved ones and detracting from the investigation.
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