The BBC has forced Facebook to remove a “fake news” post claiming to be from Sir David Attenborough after people were duped into feeding sugary water to bees.
The fake post encouraged good samaritans to help tired bees, but experts quickly dispelled the advice revealing it can be harmful and reduce pollination.
The now deleted post quoted the naturalist as saying: “If bees were to disappear from the face of the earth, humans would have just four years to live.
“If you find a tired bee in your home, a simple solution of sugar and water will help revive an exhausted bee.”
It prompted nature-lovers across the UK to try feeding exhausted bees by leaving spoonfuls of sugary water in their gardens. However the RSPB warned against leaving out the sweet treat as it discourages pollination.
“It’s a nice thing to do and it makes people feel good about themselves,” said a spokesperson, “But it’s only a short term solution for a bee. You’re giving it a sugar buzz, but what they really need is nectar.
“What people can do to help is plant flowers that flower all year round. We would not advise leaving out sugar and water as bees will go to this rather than a flower because it is easier and then flowers are not being pollinated.”
The BBC confirmed that the original post had nothing to do with Sir David and they had requested that the post be removed from Facebook.
It comes after fake videos claiming to be BBC News reports circulated showing the outbreak of nuclear war between Russian and Nato forces earlier this year.
The corporation was forced to release a statement saying the video was false after it caused widespread alarm. Jamie Angus, who heads the World Service and BBC World News, said combating “fake news” was “an increasingly large part of my world”.
In other instances, the BBC’s branding has been used to give a false sense of authentication to concocted election results, and in creating malicious news reports designed to damage corporate targets.
But despite having the post on bees taken down Twitter users were quick to implement the sugar and water method.
One user posted a picture of her leaving out a saucer of the sugary mix for a bee.
She wrote in her first post: “Home to a crashed bee… Read article on web how to revive bees. Puts two spoons of white granulated sugar on old saucer along with one spoon of water. Adds bee. Waits for happy ending.”
But added in a subsequent tweet that the bee was looking worse and she hoped “one of the birds doesn’t eat the bee.”
Another person posted: “Saw a bee struggling on the grass … i fed it some sugar and water got it onto the spoon after about 2 minutes it flew off. I am basically David Attenborough now right?”
Manx Wildlife Trust on the Isle of Man also tweeted about helping a bee with water and sugar.
The charity have since said it would be advising people “not to try sugared water at all” after it feared people were being too generous with their sugar offering.
A spokesperson said: “It appears there is a risk that people make it too strong and it blocks the bee’s proboscis.
“Sugared water should never be left out and only used as an emergency. The solution should not be strong and never use honey.”
Article Source : https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/07/13/bbc-forces-facebook-remove-fake-news-claimed-sir-david-attenborough/