FIDH deconstructs preconceived ideas about migrants

Press release
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(Paris) FIDH published fake news on its website on December 15, reading "[BREAKING NEWS] European Union Decision: All citizens with a home larger than 60m2 will have to take in a migrant". The purpose of this unusual action two days before the International Day for Migrants (the 18th) was to denounce the misinformation and techniques used by extreme right movements on social networks, and also to deconstruct several preconceived ideas about migrants, which have fueled a dialogue full of hatred and isolationism in a large number of countries.

Within 24 hours, over 100,000 people visited FIDH’s website to read the article which unveiled the true message behind the hoax: "Of course this information is completely false, but if you are reading this it’s because you clicked on the link and wondered....." and continued to deconstruct seven missconceptions about the European policy on migration and migrants.

FIDH did not directly communicate the fake news, but rather asked journalists, individuals and close contacts to spread the hoax on Twitter and Facebook. The publication had nearly 8,000 shares on Facebook.

Extreme right websites, which are often quick to launch fake news (’pictures of Aylan were staged’ (in French), ’Migrants refusing non-hallal food’ (in French), ’migrants burned their center because there wasn’t enough Nutella’ (in French)) just to generate clicks and shares were caught at their own game!

The website Fdesouche (’Native French’), one of the leading extreme right websites with more than 1 million visits per month, published FIDH’s fake news on their website. Have they changed their editorial position?

Nonetheless, the Fdesouche website is currently still relaying our request to "abandon the European safe migration policy" and adopt a "serious reform centered on the fundamental rights of migrants".

Another surprising and worrying finding is that the Yahoo news site published this information, most likely due to an algorithm, on its website in english without comment, simply taking the first 700 characters of the article.

With this action, FIDH wishes to reiterate the urgency for an overhaul of the European policy on receiving migrants, while the European institutions pride themselves on having retaken control of the influx of migrants.

For more information on migrants rights visit FIDH’s site.

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