The Mail Online has been slammed for “spreading panic” after circulating a 10-day-old tweet while an incident unfolded near Oxford Circus.
Oxford Circus Tube station was evacuated amidst chaotic scenes Friday evening after police were alerted to “a number of reports of shots fired”.
But upon further investigation police issued a statement saying that “to date police have not located any trace of any suspects, evidence of shots fired or causalities”.
The incident was then declared over just after 6pm after a little more than an hour.
A big thank you for bearing with us whilst we and @metpoliceuk responded to #OxfordCircus.— BTP (@BTP) November 24, 2017
Armed officers were quickly on scene, no evidence of gunfire found. The area was searched swiftly and we are working to lift cordons and reopen stations.
However, the had earlier Mail tweeted a story which claimed to contain a report of “lorry ploughs into pedestrians”.
Daily Mail one of the UK’s biggest newspaper tweeted about a lorry ploughing into people at Oxford Circus, then deleted it when it turns out to be fake news. Well that’s one way to spread a rumor. pic.twitter.com/nULu0G4lbe— Stephen Brian Lowe (@SBrianLowe) November 24, 2017
In the story it featured a quote from a Dan Rathbone.
#oxfordstreet There is a lorry stopped on the pavement in Oxford street, police all around it and blood on the floor, it's definitely the aftermath of something maybe just a crash but nothing on the news... Anyone have a clue?— Dan Smallbone (@DanSmallbone) November 14, 2017
However, that it was a tweet from ten days previously.
This tweet is from 10 days ago this has nothing to do with now— Dan Smallbone (@DanSmallbone) November 24, 2017
Social media users blamed Mail Online, one of the world’s biggest news websites, for only adding to the mass panic and confusion.
They've since deleted it, but @DailyMailUK were straight in there with an unfounded, unconfirmed and ultimately untrue story. Everyone else is trying to contain and reduce panic, Daily Mail actively encouraging it. Bunch of bell ends. https://t.co/nTOvw3hviZ— aggro (@AggrotheClown) November 24, 2017
Just incase anyone thought the daily mail had any credibility this headline was based off a tweet from the 14TH OF NOVEMBER. They feed off panic and lies, its disgusting. pic.twitter.com/EEhR75CjAC— Alex (@_alexjames) November 24, 2017
TOTALLY UNCONFIRMED Mail Online report that a lorry crashed in Oxford Circus is based on a tweet from 14 NOVEMBER pic.twitter.com/PyE87O1qpm— Matthew Champion (@matthewchampion) November 24, 2017
Daily Mail tweeting about lorry ploughing into people at Oxford Circus, then delete it when it turns out to be unfounded. Talk about unhelpfully spreading rumours... and this from one of our biggest newspapers!— Mark Ablett (@mark_ablett) November 24, 2017
Even after this, the Mail seemed to see no irony in criticising pop star Olly Murs for his panicked tweets:
Olly Murs tweets confusion after believing he heard 'gunshots' while trapped in Selfridges department store https://t.co/US868Mmjbu— Daily Mail U.K. (@DailyMailUK) November 24, 2017
But he didn’t publish a story based on an old tweet saying a lorry had crashed into pedestrians, to be fair. https://t.co/zdOaVBHLLC— Kevin Schofield (@PolhomeEditor) November 24, 2017
The incident Met Police including armed officers responded to the incident “as if [it was] terrorist related”.
People in the area were advised to take shelter in buildings.
The only reported casualty was a woman who suffered a minor injury when leaving Oxford Circus tube station, although other eyewitnesses reported seeing people pushed over the rush to get away from the scene.
The incident has now been stood down.