BBC News team tricked by April Fools' Day story

Sunday, 1st April 2018, 1:25 pm
Updated Sunday, 1st April 2018, 1:26 pm

Viewers of BBC Breakfast were left dumbfounded after presenters of the show appeared to treat an April Fools' article written by The Observer as a genuine news story.

Babita Sharma and Roger Johnson covered a story by the newspaper which jokingly claimed that Brexit-themed emojis were to be released by an Italian technology firm.

The parody piece presented two emojis representative of both sides of the debate: a cigar chomping canine known as Brexit Bulldog was drafted up to represent Leave supporters, while a star-eyed, beret-wearing smiley face was presented as the emoji of choice for remain supporters.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Roger Johnson and Babita Sharma were both tricked by the fake news article (Photo: BBC)

According to the article, MPs had labelled the emojis as "divisive and dangerous".

Johnson took the discussion further noting that there was no regulatory board for the use of emojis.

"There isn’t an official body that approes them and agrees them."

Sharma on the other hand expressed surprise that tariffs may be levelled against emoji creators.

'Spreading fake news'

Viewers of the breakfast show were quick to point out the error.

Twitter user Richard Deb was among the first viewers to spot the mistake.

I think @BBCBreakfast newspaper reviewer might have been had by an April Fools gag? Or is it just me? 😂😉“Political emojis could be a great way to restore trust in social media.”https://t.co/GQdyAmLg8E

— Rich Deb (@BromleyTrombone) April 1, 2018

@tvlicensingblog accused the channel of "spreading fake news again".

BBC Breakfast just got owned by reading out The Observer's April Fool article without realising it: https://t.co/2Taw7xue2a BBC spreading fake news yet again!

— TV Licensing Blog (@tvlicensingblog) April 1, 2018

While Ben Kendall suggested that someone let the du know that they had fallen foul of a crafty prank.

So who's going to break it to @BBCBreakfast that this story, which they just spent several minutes enthusiastically discussing in the paper review, is an April Fool?https://t.co/LgNns96vXX

— Ben Kendall (@benjkendall) April 1, 2018

Italian speakers were quick to point out that the article was written by a Scherzo Primavera, which translates as Joke of Spring.

I think @BBCBreakfast may have missed the point in the paper review regarding the #Brexit emojis. The article was written be Scherzo Primavera. #springjoke #AprilFool

— David King (@davidkingmozart) April 1, 2018

'1-0 to The Observer'

The BBC Breakfast team have since owned up to their error, with Roger Johnson noting "it is of course today, the first of April."

This story in The Observer about the emojis we were discussing is written by Scherzo Primavera which is 'joke of spring', to which Sharma responded "Oh why didn't we get that earlier!"

"So 1-0 to The Observer."