Debunked: What social media got wrong about Paris attacks

Story highlights

  • False narratives regarding the Paris slaughter emerge on social media
  • Online misrepresentations about people and places spread

(CNN)Along with the universal outpouring of sympathy and condemnation, the series of coordinated terror attacks in Paris less than one week ago -- leaving 129 dead and hundreds more wounded -- a number of false narratives regarding the slaughter have emerged on social media.

The rapidly evolving story of the bloodshed has not only extended from the suburbs of Paris to impoverished sections of Brussels to the ISIS stronghold of Raqqa in Syria, it has also given way to a host of online misrepresentations about people and places.

    'A message for Peace'

    From the horror of the Paris attacks, a simple illustration of a peace sign made from the likeness of the Eiffel Tower at the center of a circle has spread via social media as a way of expressing solidarity with France.
    Many immediately credited the peace sign illustration to the famously anonymous graffiti artist Banksy.
    But the peace sign is actually the creation of Jean Julien, a French illustrator who was traveling for the holidays. Julien told CNN he was overwhelmed with sadness after the attacks and decided to put his emotions into a drawing.
    "I thought we need a message for peace," he said.

    Pakistan men did not celebrate France's pain

    A video titled "Muslims around the world celebrated the Islamic victory in Paris, France," purportedly showed a crowd of young Pakistani men dancing and waving their nation's flag outside a London tube station.

    There is a Facebook video circulating the net, titled 'Muslims Around The World Celebrate The Islamic Victory In Paris...

    Posted by Sindh Sadiyan Khaan on Monday, November 16, 2015
    The celebration never happened. The video actually showed a street celebration that followed Pakistani win in a 2009 cricket match, according to a Facebook post from a representative of the Sikh community.

    It's Paris, not New York

    A photo on a Twitter post purportedly showed a sea of New Yorkers gathering in solidarity with France after last week's attack, a lighted sign with the words, "Not Afraid," at its center.
    The post said: "Beautiful. Much love and support from NYC, shine on Paris, shine on. #notafraid
    But the illuminated sign and the crowd were part of another demonstration -- in Paris, not New York -- after the January terror attacks at the offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in France. A previous Twitter post that included the sign appeared on a CNN.com story earlier this year.

    Attack the media ignored

    Reports were widely circulated that the media ignored an ISIS terrorist attack in Beirut, Lebanon, one day before the bloodshed in Paris.
    "One day before Paris, there was a massive terrorist attack the media ignored," said the headline on one story.
    But the attacks in Beirut -- in which 43 people were killed and more than 200 others injured -- were covered extensively by major news organizations, including CNN, The Washington Post, The New York Times and others.

    A doctored selfie

    In a Twitter photo, a man in a turban appears to hold up the Quran as he dons what appears to be a bomb vest in the aftermath of the Paris attacks.
    The image turned out to a post by Veerender Jubbal from last August. He appears to be taking selfie with a tablet-type device, which was photoshopped into a Quran. The apparent suicide bomb vest was superimposed over his shirt.