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Hoax Alert

Fake News: Theresa May Did NOT Quit With Immediate Effect After Poor Performance -- Metro Journalist Used Misleading Headline

  • by: Maarten Schenk
  • (Thu, 15 Nov 2018 21:51:17 Z)

Did Theresa May resign with immediate effect from her position of U.K. Prime Minister today? No, that's not true: a story from a British news website about a CEO named Paul May who quit his job was initially published with a misleading headline. The headline was later changed but the original headline kept circulating on social media making the article go massively viral.

The story originated from an article published by Metro on November 15, 2018 titled "May quits with immediate effect after poor performance" (archived here) which opened:

Paul May, the chief executive of Patisserie Valerie's parent company, has stepped down with immediate effect. Patisserie Holdings chairman Luke Johnson said: 'I am delighted to welcome Steve Francis as new CEO at Patisserie Holdings PLC. 'He has a strong track record of restoring value in turnaround situations, especially in the food industry, and the board looks forward to working with him in the revival of the business.'.

Screenshot of http://metro.co.uk/2018/11/15/may-quits-with-immediate-effect-after-poor-performance-8143408/

But users on social media only saw this title, description and thumbnail initially:

May quits with immediate effect after poor performance

Serious questions are being asked about the management.

The story was actually about Paul May, who resigned as CEO of Pattisserie Holdings:

Patisserie Valerie CEO resigns

The chief executive of troubled café chain Patisserie Valerie has resigned with immediate effect, weeks after shareholders approved a rescue deal for the company. Patisserie Holdings' CEO Paul May resigned on Thursday to be replaced by turnround specialist Stephen Francis, effective immediately.

As can be seen in this tweet (archived here) from Richard Hartley-Parkinson (the writer at Metro who published the article) the original title was different:

He also posted it on Facebook with that headline (archived copy):

The article was posted under that headline to r/labour on Reddit too:

May quits with immediate effect from r/LabourUK

We also found this version of the headline floating around the internet:

  • May quits with immediate effect after poor performance at Patisserie Valerie

Currently the headline reads:

  • Patisserie Valerie CEO Paul May quits with immediate effect

Theresa May is still Prime Minister until further notice.

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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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