Twitter Hoaxer Strikes Again: This Time with a False Report of Benedict XVI’s Passing

The false information was shared across multiple outlets across the globe.

Pope Benedict XVI on June 15, 2005 in Vatican City.
Pope Benedict XVI on June 15, 2005 in Vatican City. (photo: Courtesy photo / L'Osservatore Romano.)

WASHINGTON — A bogus Twitter account using the name of Georg Bätzing, the head of the German Bishops’ Conference, tweeted a false report Mondayevening that Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI had died.

The account, using the handle @BischofBatzing, was later removed. Before disappearing, the same account posted that the false report on the passing of the still-living 95-year-old retired pope was the work of infamous Italian Twitter hoaxer Tommasso De Benedetti.

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Timeline of false posts about the passing of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.(Photo: Screenshot)

"Twitter works well for deaths," De Benedetti told The Guardian in 2012. "Social media is the most unverifiable information source in the world but the news media believes it because of its need for speed."