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Here Is All The Fake News About The Manchester Terror Attack

A terror attack has claimed the lives of at least 22 people at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester. Here are the claims you shouldn't believe about the incident.

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Updated on

1. There was not a gunman outside Oldham hospital, despite reports by the Daily Express.

Daily Express

The Daily Express and Daily Star ran articles claiming a gunman had been spotted outside the Royal Oldham Hospital, which is situated on the edge of Greater Manchester – 8 miles away from Manchester Arena, where the terror attack took place.

Despite their headlines, which were quickly shared on social media, the stories were all seemingly sourced back to one incredibly viral Facebook post claiming a man was outside the hospital with a gun.

Twitter

The Daily Express later updated its story with a new headline denying the original claim about a gunman. The new version of the article included a stern quote from Oldham council saying the local authority has "no information" to support the idea a gunman was present while urging people to "only trust or share official sources of information".

2. This viral collage claiming to show pictures of missing children was circulated by sites such as MailOnline despite featuring several people who were on different continents at the time of the attack.

Twitter: @DailyMailUK

Several outlets, including MailOnline, tweeted this image of people purporting to be missing following the incident at Manchester Arena.

In reality, several of the individuals featured are completely unrelated internet personalities.

This picture, purporting to be from a parent desperately searching for their son, attracted 14,000 retweets on Twitter, with hundreds of replies offering advice and assistance on the ground in Manchester. In reality, it is a picture of a YouTube user who posts under the username ReportOfTheWeek.

In a video posted in the aftermath of the attack he confirmed he was in the United States and said he had suffered from an attempt to "mislead the general public with fake news".

"My heart goes out to all those affected by the attack," he added.

Speaking to BuzzFeed News on Tuesday evening, ReportOfTheWeek (real name John) said he received calls, emails and messages from friends and family to make sure he was safe.

"It only increased when several major news networks picked up on the fake information and broadcast it as factual. It frustrated and saddened me to see that this fake news got so much attention that could have been directed to those who were actually missing, but I understand that when events are developing, the situation can be very confusing."

4. This little boy who "went missing" following the Manchester explosion is actually a model posing for a 2014 article about fashion lines made for people with Down syndrome.

EVERYONE PLEASE RETWEET THIS HELP ME! THIS MY LITTLE BROTHER FRANK WE WENT TO THE CONCERT TONIGHT IN #Manchester &… https://t.co/vVT1o8LGeA

World's 1st clothing line for people w/Down syndrome launches! #kickstarter http://t.co/ictGP29PMp @BestKickstarter

5. There were images circulating on social media purporting to be Ariana Grande backstage in the moments after the explosion.

Fake News! This is NOT Ariana Grande in Manchester. It's from a filmset in 2015. Stay safe!

This is not true – the photo is of Grande on set in 2015 during filming of the television show Scream Queens. The image is one of a series of photos found here. Many of the initial tweets have since been deleted.

6. People are making up fake "missing friends" in order to generate retweets on Twitter.

teens are making up fake 'missing' friends at the ariana grande concert to get RT's. this is so dystopian

There are multiple reports of missing persons call-outs being debunked.

7. Holiday Inn said it did not have 50 unaccompanied children staying at its Manchester hotel.

Twitter

Many popular social media accounts posted incredibly viral tweets suggesting a group of around 50 unaccompanied children had been taken in by a Holiday Inn hotel close to the Manchester Arena following the Ariana Grande gig. Many of the tweets, apparently shared in good faith, urged concerned relatives to phone Holiday Inn directly if they could not get in touch with their child following the terrorist attack.

A spokesperson for InterContinental Hotels – the parent company of Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza – said staff at its Manchester hotels worked through the night to support the police and offered help to people who required immediate refuge following the bombing.

"Our thoughts are with all the victims of this horrendous tragedy as well as their friends and family and the people of Manchester," they said.

However, the spokesperson clarified that the reports of a large group of unaccompanied children were incorrect. Instead, the company urged the public to call official police helplines if they are searching for family members.

"There has been reports of a number of unaccompanied children being bought to a Holiday Inn or Holiday Inn Express in the area, however these are incorrect," the spokesperson said. "Our hotels were working with police throughout the night, but we did not have a group of unaccompanied children at our hotel."

Some tweets also suggested the children were actually staying at a nearby Premier Inn. However, a spokesperson for Premier Inn also confirmed it did not take in a large group of unaccompanied children.

In a statement Greater Manchester Police said they do not believe there are any unaccompanied children in any of the hotels in Manchester as a result of the explosion last night.

Remember, follow @GMPolice for official updates

8. Some news outlets reported that Glasgow Central Mosque was the target of a graffiti attack on one of its walls after yesterday's Manchester terror attack.

Vile ISIS graffiti daubed on Glasgow Central Mosque after terror atrocity in Manchester https://t.co/KM1h54bm0t

Glasgow Central Mosque confirmed to BuzzFeed News that the graffiti appeared last Friday and it has since reported it to the police.

Alisdair Woodburn from Glasgow was the first to take the picture of the graffiti and said today's media coverage linking it directly to the Manchester attack was a result of a misunderstanding. He told BuzzFeed News: "I took this in Glasgow this morning. I originally thought that it was done overnight but it transpires it was done on Saturday night. I contacted the council and it was removed within a couple of hours."

9. An obscure Twitter account almost certainly did not predict the Manchester terror attack hours in advance.

Twitter

Shortly after the attack on Manchester Arena a series of screengrabbed tweets predicting a forthcoming terror attack on Manchester Arena began to go viral. The tweets were timestamped between 6:28pm and 6:32pm, suggesting they had been posted around four hours before the apparent suicide bombing took place.

Twitter

The tweets – which were widely reported and posted on sites such as MailOnline and HuffPost – were taken by some to be a terror warning that Twitter had potentially ignored. As late as Tuesday afternoon, MailOnline, which had featured what it described as an "unverified" tweet in its stories all day, tweeted the headline "Twitter REFUSES to explain why tweet 'predicting' Manchester attack was not passed on to police".

However, BuzzFeed News understands that the reason the tweets were not passed on to police is that they were actually sent between 11:28pm and 11:32pm UK time – well after the terror attack took place. The screengrabs were taken by someone with their Twitter account timezone set to the East Coast of the US, which is five hours behind the UK. As a result, to the casual observer it appeared that this obscure Twitter account had the ability to predict a forthcoming terror attack.

The account was shut down soon afterwards. It is not clear who was behind it, nor their motivation or ideology.

10. A video released shortly after the attack purporting to be a message from ISIS is almost certainly fake.

Facebook: 7NewsBrisbane

The video was first uploaded to YouTube and shows a man with his face covered claiming ISIS was responsible for the attack. The video was deleted in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack on Tuesday, but this video was released on Monday evening and, in leaked screenshots from an ISIS messenger group, has even been rejected by ISIS members.

The video can be traced back to a 4chan thread where it was shared shortly following the attack. 4chan members almost immediately shut it down as fake.

New York Times correspondent Rukmini Callimachi, who focuses on al-Qaeda and ISIS, tweeted screenshots showing ISIS members discussing the video on Tuesday evening.

@braddybb @_IainMartin And it was debunked as a fake by ISIS members themselves. See below:

"Who posted the above video???" one member, who references the flag behind the man in the video – which looks to be an attempt at the al-raya flag, not ISIS's flag – asks.

"Are you that silly????"

Jim Waterson is a politics editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Jim Waterson at jim.waterson@buzzfeed.com.

Brad Esposito is a news reporter for BuzzFeed and is based in Sydney, Australia.

Contact Brad Esposito at bradley.esposito@buzzfeed.com.

Victoria Sanusi is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Victoria Sanusi at victoria.sanusi@buzzfeed.com.

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