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Hoax Alert

Fake News: German Green Party NOT Calling For Ban on Indoor Candle Usage

  • by: Maarten Schenk
  • (Fri, 23 Nov 2018 13:54:05 Z)

Is the Green Party in Germany calling for a ban on indoor candle usage because it produces too much nitrogen oxides? No, that's not true: the whole story was made up by a right-wing satire website. The ban and the quote it was based on are completely fictional, it is not real.

The story originated from an article published by the Berliner Express on November 23, 2018 titled "Grüne: Kerzenverbot in Innenräumen" (archived here) which opened:

Die Grünen fordern ein Verbot von brennenden Kerzen in Innenräumen. Die Stickoxidbelastung würde über den Höchstwert steigen. Auch Adventskränze haben künftig keinen Platz mehr in den Wohnzimmern.

BERLIN (fna) - Im Kampf um saubere Luft sorgen die Grünen nicht nur bei den Autofahrern für Frust, auch für Christen dürfte es ungemütlich werden, da künftig brennende Kerzen in Innenräumen verboten sein sollen. „An den Straßen gilt ein Grenzwert von 40 Mikrogramm Stickstoffdioxid pro Kubikmeter Luft, in Büros ein Grenzwert von 60", so der Fraktionsvorsitzende der Grünen im Bundestag, Anton Hofreiter zur Nachrichtenagentur fna. „Da kann es doch nicht sein, dass eine einzelne durchschnittliche Kerze 120 Mikrogramm an Stickoxiden produziert."

Translated:

The Greens call for a ban on burning candles indoors. The nitrogen oxide load would rise above the maximum value. Advent wreaths will no longer have a place in living rooms.

BERLIN (fna) - In the fight for clean air, the Greens cause not only the motorists frustration, for Christians things will get less cozy too since burning candles indoors would be prohibited in the future. "On the roads there is a limit of 40 micrograms of nitrogen dioxide per cubic meter of air, in offices a limit of 60," said the leader of the Green Party in the Bundestag, Anton Hofreiter to the news agency fna. "It can not be that a single average candle produces 120 micrograms of nitric oxide."

Screenshot of http://berliner-express.com/2018/11/gruene-kerzenverbot-in-innenraeumen/

Users on social media only saw this title, description and thumbnail and may have thought it was actual news:

Grüne: Kerzenverbot in Innenräumen

Die Grünen fordern ein Verbot von brennenden Kerzen in Innenräumen. Die Stickoxidbelastung würde über den Höchstwert steigen. Auch Adventskränze haben künftig keinen Platz mehr in den Wohnzimmern.

The Berliner Express comes with a long disclaimer (archived here) in German:

Wir haben diese Webseite gestartet, um die Menschen zum Nachdenken zu animieren.

Ist es wirklich wahr? Kann das wirklich sein? Nicht wenige unserer Artikel wurden schon für wahr gehalten - weil man es den jeweiligen Personen bzw. Parteien einfach zutraut, tatsächlich solche Forderungen zu erheben oder solche Aussagen zu tätigen.

Wir finden auch, dass es zu wenig Online-Satire und zu wenig überspitzte Kritik am herrschenden (politischen, gesellschaftlichen und wirtschaftlichen) System gibt. Dem wollen wir mit unserem „Berliner Express" entgegentreten.

Neben „Der Postillon" (Deutschland) und „Die Tagespresse" (Österreich) wollen wir den Berliner Express als drittes großes Satireportal positionieren, um so auch in diesem Bereich die Pressevielfalt zu stärken.

Sie dürfen getrost davon ausgehen, dass unsere Artikel - zumindest zum Teil - völlig frei erfunden wurden. Es kann aber sein, dass Satire zur Realität wird. Darauf Einfluss nehmen können wir aber nicht.

Translation:

We started this website to make people think.

Is it really true? Can that really be? Quite a few of our articles have been believed to be true - because one simply trusts the individual or party to actually make such claims or to make such statements.

We also find that there is not enough online satire and too little exaggerated criticism of the prevailing (political, social and economic) system. We want to counter that with our "Berliner Express".

Besides "Der Postillon" (Germany) and "Die Tagespresse" (Austria), we want to position the Berliner Express as the third major satire portal in order to strengthen the press diversity in this area as well.

You can confidently assume that our articles were invented - at least in part - completely free. But it may be that satire becomes reality. But we can not influence that.

Its tagline is "Nachrichten aus dem Zentrum der (Ohn)Macht" which translates to "News from the heart of power(lessness)".

The site is run by the same people who are behind contra-magazin.com, a German-language right-wing conservative news website: it shares an IP addres and an Adsense account with it and the satire site is listed under "Befreundete Portale" (friendly portals) in the site footer. It also lists the same publisher (All Inclusive Media Inc.) and editor in chief (Marco Maier).

We wrote about berliner-express.com 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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