Jo Swinson has branded accusations she fired stones at squirrels as ‘very fake news’. Screenshots of what appeared to be a Daily Mirror story have been widely circulated online. The article alleges that a private video of the Lib Dem leader has surfaced on Facebook, showing her pelting the furry mammals with pebbles using a slingshot. The Remain campaigner told LBC‘s Iain Dale she was becoming increasingly concerned about such viral stories:
‘They’re quite sophisticated in that people can believe them. I do think its worrying because it has echoes of what we’ve seen in other elections and particularly when you think about fake news and the technological possibility for deep fakes, where videos can be faked, then I think there’s questions about the role of publishers in circulating this kind of thing, which is untrue, because its actually very difficult to prevent its spread.’
The hoax story includes made-up quotes from Swinson saying ‘I don’t go for the head because that’s too clean a death’ and labelling squirrels ‘pleb bunnies’.
Mr S, for one, wasn’t fooled by the story. But perhaps it’s time for the Lib Dems to take a stand against fake news of their own, starting with some of their own Lib Dem election leaflets…