5 Fibs You Were Told This Week... Featuring Soy Sauce And Woolworths

Chris York
·Senior Editor, HuffPost UK
·6 min read
(Photo: ASSOCIATED PRESS)
(Photo: ASSOCIATED PRESS)

For the last few weeks, 5 Fibs has brought you tales of untruths, deceit and misdirection that, for the most part, have centred on the government and its response to the coronavirus.

So it was with a certain joy that while researching the latest edition, HuffPost UK realised we could fill almost an entire article with something completely different.

Then we realised that even without the coronavirus pandemic as a factor, the UK is still totally nuts which is why you’re soon to read about soy sauce and the non-existent return of the masters of pic’n’mix.

As it’s an insanely rare thing these days, let’s start with a fib that’s actually quite jolly.

Woolworths

It was the news we all needed amidst an awful year – the finest purveyor of pick’n’mix the world has ever known was returning to our high streets.

But alas, because it’s 2020 and apparently no one is allowed nice things anymore, it was all a hoax sparked by a dubiously small Twitter account with terrible spelling.

Despite this, much of the country’s media jumped on the news as high street gospel.

In an interview with the Guardian, the 17-year-old sixth-form student from York behind the stunt said: “Fake news is so easy to spread, and it took Twitter over 12 hours to shut down the account.

“There was spelling mistakes and a lack of a website purposely injected into the account, and yet some of the media still took it as gospel. I feel bad for the reporters.”

Jeremy Corbyn

Thursday was a truly awful day for the Labour Party as the long-awaited findings of the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) were published.

In short it was absolutely damning and found under the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn, the party was responsible for unlawful acts of harassment and discrimination.

A defiant Corbyn refused to accept the full findings of the inquiry and in an interview with Sky News insisted he was “not part of the problem”.

Just minutes later, it became apparent the party deemed this to be fibbing when it was announced Corbyn was being suspended for his response to the report.

Earlier in the day, Keir Starmer told reporters: “If – after all the pain, all the grief, and all the evidence in this report – there are still those who think there’s no problem with anti-Semitism in the Labour Party, that it’s all exaggerated, or a factional attack, then, frankly, you are part of the problem too.

“And you should be nowhere near the Labour Party either.”

Soy sauce

Government departments are always looking for ways to appear in touch with the people and it was in this spirit that the Department of Trade (DoT) jumped on the Great British Bake Off hashtag as the show aired on Tuesday night.

The DoT Twitter account remarked how contestants “used a lot of soya sauce”, and it was “a good thing it will be made cheaper”.

Thing is, as it stands, soy sauce is not subject to any tariffs as the UK continues to benefit from some EU trade deals, at least until December 31, and is seeking an agreement with the bloc.

Trade expert David Henig was among those who challenged the department over the claims, saying it was “not a good look when you can’t trust a government social media account to tell the truth”.

The department later clarified it was referring to tariffs the UK could be paying – 6% – under a no-deal scenario, which would push the country on to World Trade Organisation terms but this wasn’t enough to placate Henig.

The Covid app ‘ghosts’

If you’ve been using the NHS Covid-19 app there’s a good chance it’s been fibbing quite regularly to you over the last few weeks.

A slightly concerning message received frequently by some users reads: “Possible Covid-19 exposure. Someone you were near reported having Covid-19. Exposure date, duration and signal strength have been saved.”

Fortunately it turns out this is a glitch that has hopefully now been fixed.

At the time, DHSC said these particular alerts were default privacy notifications from Apple and Google – who created the underlying technology – to alert people that the app is sharing information with the system.

Confusion persisted despite a follow-up message being introduced on October 13 to reassure users.

(Photo: HuffPost UK)
(Photo: HuffPost UK)

And finally...

Our traditional US entry to end with this week focuses on Ivanka Trump and her apparent scientific prowess that basically no one was aware she possessed.

The president’s daughter featured in a remarkable document in which the Trump administration triumphantly declared victory over the coronavirus pandemic on Tuesday, one week before the 2020 election and with Covid-19 cases surging across the country.

The claim came in a new 62-page report from the White House that listed the scientific and technological accomplishments during President Donald Trump’s first term.

The list includes possibly one of the biggest fibs of modern times: “ENDING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC.”

Clearly in need of backing up, the White House drew on..... Ivanka Trump.

She wrote: “Over the past four years, president Trump’s policies and investments in science and technology ensure America stands ready to solve today’s most pressing challenges and that our workforce is prepared for tomorrow’s innovations.

“For years to come, these achievements will guarantee the United States remains the world’s leader in research, discovery and the advancement of industries that will shape our future.”

Ivanka Trump has zero training or background as a scientific expert.

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This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.