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Hoax Alert

Fake News: 100% (NOT Just 84%) of UK's Tap Water is Halal

  • by: Maarten Schenk
  • (Tue, 10 Apr 2018 16:24:37 Z)

Did an investigation reveal 84% of UK tap water was halal because it had "cadburinium fluoride" added to it? No, that's a piece of fake news created by a satire website to mock the recent controversy about Cadbury eggs no longer mentioning the word "Easter" on the packaging. It is not true at all.

The story originated from an article published by the Southend News Network on April 9, 2018 titled "Investigation reveals that 84% of UK's tap water is HALAL" (archived here) which opened:

Campaigners have been calling for urgent action after a Southend News Network investigation revealed that 84% of all tap water in the UK is halal.

Our research team spent three months taking 10,000 samples of tap water from all over the country, and lab tests showed that 8,407 specimens contained cadburinium fluoride.

This is the halal-friendly chemical that is added to mains water to make it culturally accessible to all.

Nathan Wett-Rêve of the British Water Consortium told our Chief Reporter that adding the chemical was 'a necessary step in modern Britain.'

Screenshot of http://www.southendnewsnetwork.net/news/investigation-reveals-that-84-of-uks-tap-water-is-halal/

Users on social media only saw this title, description and thumbnail, possibly leading them to think it was a real news article:

Investigation reveals that 84% of UK's tap water is HALAL

Campaigners have been calling for urgent action after a Southend News Network investigation revealed that 84% of all tap water in the UK is halal. Our research team spent three months taking 10,000 samples of tap water from all over the country, and lab tests showed that 8,407 specimens contained cadburinium fluoride. This is the...

But there is no compound called "cadburinium fluoride" and water is by definition halal since the term halal used in a food context simply means it doesn't contain pork or alcohol. So it is more correct to say close to 100% of British tap water is halal. There is also no organisation called the "British Water Consortium" and the name of the spokesperson "Nathan Wett-Rêve" is just a bad pun using a literal French translation (rêve means dream in French, so "wet dream", haha). Using Frenchified English names that form naughty puns is a trademark signature in many Southend News Network stories.

The Southend News Network is a satirical site pretending to be a news organisation by the English coast in Southend. They have a disclaimer on their about page that reads (in part):

Southend News Network was originally started in October 2015 with no real aims or objectives in mind other than to add a satirical/spoof-like touch to issues that people are passionate about in Southend On Sea. Above all else, SNN is all about having the occasional 'dig' at the powers that be, as well a slightly bigger and more frequent 'dig' at certain elements of local media!

Several of their stories have been mistaken for real news in the past and the site was recognized by the local authorities as an "official news outlet".

We wrote about southendnewsnetwork.net before, here are our most recent articles that mention the site:

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About the author:

Maarten Schenk is our resident expert on fake news and hoax websites. He likes to go beyond just debunking trending fake news stories and is endlessly fascinated by the dazzling variety of psychological and technical tricks used by the people and networks who intentionally spread made-up things on the internet.  He can often be found at conferences and events about fake news, disinformation and fact checking when he is not in his office in Belgium monitoring and tracking the latest fake article to go viral.

Read more about or contact Maarten Schenk
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