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Inflammatory images from a bonfire and Ardoyne, both of them fake

Twitter has been credited with allowing two potentially incendiary rumours to be quickly quashed.

The new report investigating the effect of social media on community relations - funded by the Community Relations Council (CRC) - emphasised two examples where a potentially explosive situation had been defused.

The first was an online rumour suggesting that an image of Oscar Knox, a five-year-old child who died of a rare form of cancer, had been burnt on an Eleventh Night bonfire in Randalstown, Co Antrim.

A photograph purporting to prove this began to circulate on the evening of July 11, 2014, sparking fury and upset.

It turned out that the photograph had been doctored to make it appear as if Oscar's image had been placed on the bonfire.

However, the Randalstown Sons of Ulster Flute band were able to upload a picture of their bonfire confirming that no such image was burnt, as well as stating that the five-year-old was a hero. The second example in the report concerned another doctored photograph, purportedly of an Ardoyne nationalist protester holding a sign saying the Orange Order was not welcome in the area.

Within a few minutes of this tweet, the original photograph was posted on Twitter which showed that the protester was involved in a peaceful Christian protest. His placard contained the motto "Love my neighbour", and not the anti-Orange Order slogan which had featured in the doctored photograph.

The CRC report concluded that Twitter had "provided a platform for both sides to correct misinformation and rumours that had the potential to increase the sectarian tensions surrounding the Ardoyne impasse".

'The rumour that a pic of Oscar Knox was on Rtown bonfire tonight is absolute nonsense. Shame on the person(s) who started it. RIP Wee man'

One of the social media posts scotching an inflammatory


Belfast Telegraph