back to top

A Hoax Story On Facebook Claimed Stephen Harper Was Kicked Out Of The Vatican

It's totally false.

Posted on

A hoax is circulating on Facebook and Twitter that claims Prime Minister Stephen Harper was kicked out of the Vatican "after getting caught masturbating in front of old photos of Mussolini." Here's how it looked on Facebook.

But anyone who clicked on the Facebook link was sent to a real story on the CBC's website about Harper's audience with the Pope.

CBC spokesman Chuck Thompson told BuzzFeed Canada that "Someone shared out the story to their Facebook page and edited the headline; It was never on CBC's website."

He said the only place where you could see the fake photo and headline was on Facebook. There was no corresponding fake story.

This appears to be one of the first accounts on Twitter to share the fake headline. It tweeted it out just after 3 p.m. on Thursday.

Harper kicked-out of Vatican after getting caught masturbating in front of old photos of Mussolini


Though the bio information on Twitter claims the woman is based in Canada, the account is likely fake. It constantly tweets out links to deleted Facebook pages.

This real Twitter account shared the hoax and used the popular #cdnpoli hashtag to give it more exposure. (The hashtag is used to discuss Canadian politics.)

BREAKING: "Harper kicked-out of Vatican after being caught masturbating in front of old photos of Mussolini" #cdnpoli

The hoax Facebook link, and screencaps of it, have spread enough that the CBC is responding to people on Twitter to explain what happened.

@CBCNews did your #Facebook account get compromised or do you have a Linkbaiter on staff?

@thehautlife We didn’t publish this. It’s a screen cap from someone’s personal Facebook post. Anyone can rewrite headlines of FB posts. ^jb


@SheilaGunnReid @stephen_taylor To confirm, this did not come from @CBCNews - it was posted by others who simply altered the text.

@SheilaGunnReid @CBCNews @TNorrisYEG @bcbluecon @CBC @tim3048 Anyone can rewrite headlines of FB posts. It did not come from us.

Craig Silverman is a media editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in Toronto.

Contact Craig Silverman at

Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.