Twitter hoax via account using new Greek minister's name to announce (fake) death of director Costa Gavra

Thursday, 30 August 2018 19:18
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The first day on the job of new culture minister Myrsini Zorba coincided with a major Twitter hoax, as an account bearing her name and likeness was used to announce the death of well-known Greek-French movie director Costa Gavra - a report that clashed with the fact that the latter was alive and well at his Paris apartment.

The Tweet, in Greek, read: “Urgent: I am now receiving news from Paris of the death of Greek director and producer Costa Gavra. An official announcement will soon be issued”.

As domestic and international media picked up and disseminated what proved to be "fake news", based on the Tweet from what was alleged to be the new minister’s account, Zorba immediately announced that the Tweet was the product of a "hacking".

“It was a malicious and macabre attack,” she said.

She later clarified that the Twitter account did not belong to her but was a parody account.

“It wasn’t my post; it’s not my account, which uses my name,” she said, referring to the account @MZorbaGr.

Later reports claimed that an Italian journalist known for using parody accounts on Twitter to try and pull off such hoaxes was responsible for the Tweet. Another Twitter account, without being verified, bears the name "Myrsini Zorba" with the minister's photograph, and commenting on political issues since it was opened in 2010.

Zorba was a surprise appointment to the leftist-rightist coalition government this week, as she's not currently an elected deputy and her last public office was as a European Parliament MEP serving between 2000 and 2004. During the 2000 EP election he was placed on the party's MEP list by then ruling PASOK party and former prime minister and PASOK leader Costas Simitis.

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