HOAX

Fake News Incites Panic in Georgia

April Fool’s is still more than two weeks away, but producers at the Imedi television station in the republic of Georgia chose to play an Orwellian joke on the country. Airing a mock documentary about a live Russian invasion of the country, intended as political satire, the station sparked widespread panic—after all, the two countries were briefly at war less than two years ago. Seeing a nervous anchor break news that sporadic fighting had already spilled into the streets of Tblisi and clumsy images of a fighter jet dropping bombs, people scrambled to safety and placed emergency calls. Clearly, they had missed the disclaimer at the beginning of the show. “If you hear that war started, of course you run for the bank machine, then run home, it’s natural,” a taxi driver in Tbilisi told The New York Times.