While the firefighters were stopping the firestorm whose tongues were swallowing Notre Dame, the Internet was getting heated on the conspiracy theories that emerged as viruses in this case as well. Twitter and YouTube were struggling to stop the spreaders of these theories that appeared from anonymous profiles. The French authorities, who investigated the causes of the fire, immediately rejected the theory of terrorism.

The conspiracy theories and the fake news about the fire in Notre Dame, which occurred on April 15, 2019, set fire in the Internet space almost at the same moment. Disinformation and incorrectly transmitted information switched from portals to social networks, following the path of spreading of the false news. But images and videos from the fiery cathedral quickly circulated on social networks, too. Some of them contributed to the narratives that were used in the conspiracy theories.

The claim that this fire was deliberate and planned was distinguished as a more important theory. This theory was presented through one of the common sites for spreading fake news on world level – Info Wars .The claim emerged from a tweet that was later erased.

A large group of twitters tried to present their option, inserting videos with a question about the identity of the man who walks. Anonymous users used editing tools to help spread the conspiracy theories.

YouTube wasn’t spared neither. By an error, the algorithm of the link with the fire connected with the attack and the demolition of the Twin Towers in the United States on September 11, 2011, which immediately electrified the atmosphere.

The options also included the theory of terrorism. A video on YouTube, which has been watched over 40,000 times, uses a man who pronounces “Alah Akbar”, above the video with the fire. The video was moved to Twitter, where it was retweeted until the evening of April 15, 2019, when it was removed.

The theories about the fire are not appeasing on the Internet. The social network users with a large number of followers have promoted all the options from the theories of their profiles. The racial or religious elements are also not speared, in order to spread the theory faster and easier.

CNN was among the first media in the world to publish a story to reveal the fake news, as well as the information misrepresented in the public.

The conspiracy theories about this unpleasant event found their followers in the Republic of Northern Macedonia, as well. The agitators of these theories used their profiles on social networks in order to encourage the spreading of these theories and followers in the country. In their theories they inserted almost all options, some of them in question form, part subtly, as it happens most often when it comes to conspiracy theories or insufficiently explored questions.

Radical Islam was one of the options in their theories.

It was not excluded that the fire was started in order to distract the attention from the protests of the yellow vests. The option of connecting it with events such as: the Twin Towers on September 11, the London subway, and so on, was also included.

On Tuesday, April 16, 2019, Twitter published a report detailing the elimination of hate speech. From there they pointed out that the system managed to stop 38% of the insulting contents posted on the platform before they reached the public. Soon, the company will update its rules in order to prevent hate speech.

Other portals that posted the news: watch /




This project was funded in part through a U.S. Embassy grant. The opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed herein are those of the implementers/authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Government.


© 2024 F2N2.