Fake claim cloned across hundreds of fake social media accounts. One real person identified says her account was hacked – but has family link with Tory Health Secretary Matt Hancock, who was at centre of fake news scandal yesterday
As the SKWAWKBOX has reported, the Tories have sunk to the level of two bot-driven fake news campaigns in order to try to discredit the story of little Jack Williment, the four-year-old boy who had to sleep on a hospital floor because it had no beds available under Tory underfunding.
Even though both the hospital and the local press have verified the story – with the hospital formally apologising to the family for little Jack’s ordeal – the Tories have used fake ‘bot’ accounts on social media to claim that the picture of Jack on the floor was staged and the story was fake.
But in potentially explosive news, the one real person whose account has been identified putting out the claim that the story was false – and whose screengrabbed post has been closely identified by commentators with the genesis of the fake claim – has a family connection with Health Secretary Matt Hancock.
Sheree Jenner-Hepburn’s Facebook post – shared 29,000 times on Facebook – has been described as the genesis of the message that was cloned, word for word, across many hundreds of fake accounts.
She has since claimed that her account was hacked and has reportedly admitted that she knows nobody at Leeds General Infirmary.
If so, the hackers appear to have hung around long enough to correspond with people who commented on the post, however – as a screenshot of the thread under the post, taken before she deleted her Facebook account, shows:
As well as being shared 29,000 times on Facebook, the exact wording of the message that appeared on Jenner-Hepburn’s account also appeared in tweets and Facebook posts put out by hundreds, perhaps even thousands, of fake ‘bot’ accounts – including misnaming the hospital as ‘Leeds Hospital’, which does not exist – as part of the coordinated Tory campaign to discredit the Jack Williment story.
She has now deleted her Facebook account, but her son’s Facebook account shows that he is ‘friends’ with Tory Health Secretary Matt Hancock:
Hancock was involved in yesterday’s fake-news attempt by the Tories, when they briefed journalists that his aide had been ‘punched in the face’ by a Labour activist when Hancock visited Leeds General Infirmary, after Boris Johnson was humiliated when he stole a journalist’s phone rather than look at a photograph of little Jack Williment on the hospital’s floor.
Sheree Jenner-Hepburn, who works as a PA for a private surgeon, has not replied to a request for comment. Matt Hancock’s office has not answered calls all afternoon.
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