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

It's totally false.

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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.
cbc.ca

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.

The description text on the Facebook link clearly showed that it had been edited.

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 http://t.co/PzV4y8WVmV

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.

It's possible this and other fake accounts were used to help spread the hoax on Twitter.
Facebook: tia.jocelyn.22

It's possible this and other fake accounts were used to help spread the hoax on Twitter.

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? http://t.co/DSdvRHeSou

@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.

Meanwhile, here's a real photo from Harper's visit to the Vatican.

If you see someone sharing the hoax version, be sure to tell them it's fake.
Tony Gentile / Reuters

If you see someone sharing the hoax version, be sure to tell them it's fake.

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

Contact Craig Silverman at craig.silverman@buzzfeed.com.

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