With every passing day, it’s becoming more and more difficult to distinguish between what’s fake and what’s real. The problem has only been accelerated by the fact that we are living in a clown world where the bizarre is the norm.
A screenshot of a supposed news report has now gone viral on social media of a Saudi man accidentally buying two airplanes for his son’s birthday. The screenshot said that the man works in the energy sector and was looking to buy a gift for his son on his birthday who happens to be a big fan of aviation.
The article is from a website called Thin Air Today. It says, “The man says he called Airbus for the model planes but his lack of english made communication difficult. “They asked so many questions about interior and exterior, I just though they make very accurate scale models”. The price tag of roughly € 329 million did not seem to bother the man. “I got lost in currency conversions, I thought it was a bit expensive but still reasonable”. The man payed with his American Express and a few months later, Airbus called to tell the planes are ready for delivery. “They asked me who will fly it, I thought it was a joke”.” Apparently, the Saudi then decided to keep one of the planes for himself and gifted the other to his cousin.
Times Group’s Times Now fell for the satire.
TimesNow has quoted a website ‘Tumfweko.com’ as a source for the above news which is a news website from Zambia, which, too, seems to have fallen for the satire.
Numerous people on social media shared the article believing it to be true.
Saudi man buys 2 Airbus A 350s accidentally. A rare transaction that would not see the light at the end of the tunnel pic.twitter.com/Dd5Dv431zt
— Devilsbrouhaha (@alibehzaad) August 27, 2019
That that man
That that problemhttps://t.co/E446eA6AV1
— 𝓑𝓻𝓾𝓷𝓸 𝓜𝓪𝓼𝓬𝓪𝓻𝓮𝓷𝓱𝓪𝓼 𝓙𝓜𝓐 🇮🇳 (@spinesurgeon) August 26, 2019
#Saudi Man Accidentally buys 2 Airbus A350’s for Son’s Birthday.
— Mohan Vishwa (@camohanbn) August 27, 2019
However, as it turns out, Thin Air Today is a satire website. It says so as much on its Facebook page.
Although their website doesn’t explicitly say that it’s satire, it is fairly obvious from the content. For instance, they have articles with headlines such as, “Airbus: Siri will replace autopilot and new cockpit gets 12MP selfie-camera for pilots.” Another one reads, “Flat earth society makes promotional round-the-world trip”. Yet another reads, “Berlin’s new airport to open in summer of 3021.”
People have fallen for an obvious piece of satire. There appears to be a misguided perception of how rich the Saudis actually are. But seriously, not even they are that rich. Or maybe, they are. And that is why so many people fell for this particular piece of satire.
This is not the first time a satire has been taken for real news. Last year, NDTV had taken a 2011 article of a satire website Unreal Times on Imran Khan (the cricketer turned Pakistani Prime Minister) for actual news. Similarly, scientist and columnist Anand Ranganathan’s satirical tweet had triggered the usual suspects in the liberal world. Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia, too, fell for a satirical ‘dowry calculator‘.