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Swedish paper falls for Thatcher death hoax

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Swedish paper falls for Thatcher death hoax
10:54 CEST+02:00
A Swedish news editor is blaming "bad fact-checking" after his paper announced on Tuesday that British ex Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher had died - a story that began as a hoax on Twitter.

The Skövde Nyheter newspaper printed the story on Tuesday night after having seen what they thought was a legitimate tweet from Sky News.

“The article was only up for a short time, perhaps an hour at the most, but by then the damage was done,” explained the editor of the newspaper, Ronny Karlsson, to The Local.

The article, which erroneously announced that "Margret" Thatcher had died, was based on a tweet from Twitter account @OfficialSkyNews, which read:

“Former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher has passed away at the age of 86 after a prolonged illness. More details soon.”

This account, which boasted over 33,000 followers, has now been deleted after having been outed as a fake with no affiliation with Sky News.

With Swedish media now writing about the kerfuffle, Karlsson has blamed bad fact-checking for the article's publication.

“We simply didn't check properly if it was true. Everything moves so fast these days. But no matter how fast things get or how many news channels there are, this shouldn't have happened,” he said.

Since, the paper has published an apology about the mix-up on their site, however the editor is quick to point out that this was a one-off occurrence.

“This was just someone making a mistake. We can only apologize to our readers – this is something that has happened for the first and the last time,” Karlsson told The Local.

Oliver Gee

Follow Oliver on Twitter here

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