In the fake news era, it could be surprising that a video of a female cyclist receiving sexist abuse from a van driver, then chasing him down before tearing off his wing mirror after he coincidentally pulls up a hundred metres later, all filmed by a handily-placed GoPro-wielding moped rider was spread across many media outlets seemingly without questions being asked about its authenticity.
The video, which you may have seen posted on Facebook by Viral Thread, found its way onto the websites of many tabloid papers as well as a number of specialist cycling websites, before being taken down by Jungle Creations, the company behind Viral Thread, after questions were asked about whether it could have been staged
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By Wednesday afternoon, the Sun had spoken to a builder who had witnessed the video being filmed, saying that he had seen the people in the video discussing what they were going to do.
“I was across the road having a break and I saw this very attractive girl with a bike talking to a blonde guy who was giving her instructions,” Scott Deane told the paper.
“Then three guys dressed in orange site clothes turned up in a van and the blonde bloke was giving them instructions too. He was telling the girl: ‘You need to ride behind the van aggressively’.
“They practised the scene two or three times with the motorbike riding behind them. You could see there was already damage to the wing mirror, it was loose.”
Jungle Creations, which according to the Guardian was asking for fees of between £150 and £400 from publications wishing to use the video, then issued a statement on its website admitted that the video may have been staged.
“It’s come to our attention that a video distributed on our Facebook channel Viral Thread on 21st February 2017 may be factually incorrect.
“Contrary to reports, we want to make clear that Jungle Creations was in no way involved in the making or production of this video. The video was received from a third-party content provider and was distributed on Viral Thread by Jungle Creations under the impression that it portrayed real-life events.”
The company, which describes itself as the “sixth most-viewed media company in the world”, said that it has started an internal investigation into the distribution of the video.
“We rigorously vet all content received from third parties to ascertain its credibility, but unfortunately our usual high standards were not met on this video.
“Jungle Creations is committed to ensuring and protecting the integrity of content on its channels and we take matters of this nature extremely seriously.
“We have since commenced an internal investigation to ensure that it does not happen again. The video has now been removed from all Jungle Creations social media channels and we wholeheartedly apologise for confusion caused.”