back to top

Here's A Growing List Of The Misinformation Going Around About The Barcelona Attack

There has been a lot of uncertainty since news of the attack broke. (This post will be updated.)

Originally posted on
Updated on

A van drove into a crowd of people on Las Ramblas, the main tourist and commercial street in Barcelona, on Thursday, killing and injuring several people in what authorities said was a terrorist attack. Two suspects have been arrested, according to police.

In the aftermath of the attack, rumors started spreading online about the perpetrators and their motivations.

Here's the online misinformation so far:

1. There was no hostage situation in Barcelona as early reports suggested.

Twitter: @V_of_Europe

Soon after the attack, reports surfaced of a hostage situation in a cafe or bar in Barcelona, but it later became clear this was false.

Authorities later explicitly denied rumors that a man had taken hostages in a nearby bar.

"There is no one entrenched itself in any bar in the center of #Barcelona," police tweeted.

3. According to the official Twitter account of Spain's Civil Guard, some misinformation about the attack is circulating on WhatsApp.

Los #TontosDelBulo no pierden ocasión de difundir por #WhatsApp falsas alertas tras el atentado de #Barcelona No cr… https://t.co/inNH43Ghe7

Here's some false information the tweet says to watch out for:

- "The alert was raised to 5, which means an imminent attack. Don't take public transport, don't gather in tourist areas."

- "They have cancelled vacations and have sent more police from Madrid. There is a team in the airport."

- "The Renfe [a Spanish train service] is filled with police."

4. Attacks did not take place in the Spanish city of Vilassar or the Arc de Triomphe in Barcelona — despite rumors.

Si hi ha nous incidents INFORMAREM NO hi ha atemptats a Vilassar, Arc de Triomf...són rumors! CONTRASTA LA INFO A @emergenciescat i @mossos

Catalonia's official emergency services told followers to stay tuned to its account and @mossos — the Catalonian police force — for updates on any further attacks. In addition to the van attack in Barcelona, suspected terrorists attempted an attack in the Spanish city of Cambrils. Official accounts were quick to tweet the new information.

5. Law enforcement not working any kind of terrorist incident in the Spanish town of Reus, the Catalonian police force said.

NO tenemos ningún incidente abierto en Reus relacionado con acción terrorista. Pedimos una vez más que NO se difundan falsos rumores

Jane Lytvynenko is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Toronto, Canada. PGP fingerprint: A088 89E6 2500 AD3C 8081 BAFB 23BA 21F3 81E0 101C.

Contact Jane Lytvynenko at jane.lytvynenko@buzzfeed.com.

Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.