Jo Swinson responds to "very fake news" story which said she fired stones at squirrels

19 November 2019, 08:15

Jo Swinson warned the public to be wary of obviously fake news impacting the General Election after a story about how she fired stones at squirrels went viral.

Tweets purporting to show a story from the Mirror's website received thousands of retweets last week, with the headline: "Jo Swinson blasted by animal rights charities after "harrowing" footage found on private Facebook".

Labelling it as "very fake news", the Lib Dem leader warned that these stories on social media could have a major impact on 12th December.

Speaking to Iain Dale, she said: "This sort of fake news is surprising to me. This isn't the only one of the very fake news stories.

"There was one using the byline of an established journalist. There was one that used Peter Walker's name from the Guardian and he had to go online to debunk it and say he never wrote it.

"They're quite sophisticated and people do believe them.

Jo Swinson responded to the viral squirrel story
Jo Swinson responded to the viral squirrel story. Picture: PA / LBC

"I do think it's worrying because it echoes what we've seen in other elections and particularly when you think about fake news and the technological possibility for deepfakes where videos can be faked, then there are questions about the role of publishers in circulating these things that aren't true.

"It's very difficult to prevent its spread."

Iain Dale proved her point by bringing up a tweet that he had shared, claiming that Chuka Umunna said he would never join the Liberal Democrats, only a couple of years before joining the Liberal Democrats.