How A Video Of Snickers Bars Being Burned In A Pit Inspired A Viral Conspiracy Theory
The conspiracy is spreading fast on Facebook and can also be found on YouTube.
An old video of Snickers chocolate bars being burned by the boxful is being used to spread a false claim that the candy causes cancer.
In 2016, plastic was found in some Snickers bars and as a result the company issued recalls in 55 countries around the world. That resulted in a striking report by Euronews in March 2016 that showed people in Gaza throwing boxes of Snickers into a huge pit and setting them on fire:
In the video a man with a consumer protection bureau in Gaza says, "We destroyed Snickers and Mars chocolate after working with the products' importers and distributors. There was an order for them to be recalled from the market."
The story had nothing to do with cancer.
But now that video is getting a second life on Facebook and YouTube thanks to people making false claims that it's new, and that the candy is being destroyed due to it causing cancer.
This Facebook account shared the Euronews report in a group called "foodielock.com" on March 15. It falsely told the more than 8,000 group members that Snickers causes cancer and to "keep your baby away" from the candy. The post received more than 53,000 shares.
The video has gone viral despite the fact that the original audio of the Euronews report was left intact, meaning anyone who watched it with the sound on could hear the real reason the candy was being destroyed.
The user, Timpy T NaZz, did not reply to a message sent by BuzzFeed News on Sunday night. By Monday morning the user had blocked the Facebook account of the BuzzFeed News reporter who reached out.
That post continues to inspire copycats and reshares. A page called the Press of World, which has close to 2.5 million fans, posted the video on Sunday with the exact same share text as the Timpy T NaZz account. Its post has generated 25,000 views in a little more than 24 hours.
This user reshared the Timpy T NaZz post and claimed that "mainstream North American media" was suppressing the story to help protect the company's profits.
The video was also posted March 11, by a page called the People's Content. It told its more than 150,000 fans that Snickers production stopped in 65 countries due to "Cancer Causing Ingredients."
That video has generated over 3,400 shares, and and more than 90,000 views. The page did not reply to a message sent by BuzzFeed News.
The hoax has spread enough that Snickers Arabia posted about it on its Facebook page.
"As many of our Snickers® lovers and loyal consumers have responded, the video which was taken in Gaza is 2 years old, and is related to a voluntary preventive recall caused by a quality issue impacting a very limited quantity of products, because we care about the safety of our consumers more than anything else," the post said.
The hoax is also spreading on YouTube. Videos created in recent weeks, as well as one from 7 months ago, repeat the false claims about Snickers. As of now the videos have generated far less engagement than the versions on Facebook.
One YouTube video from March 13 has the title, "Snickers and Mars Causes Cancer / Banned in 55 Countries."
It's generated just over 3,000 views. Similar videos can easily be found by searching "Snickers cancer" on YouTube.
By comparison, the original Euronews video has generated just over 28,000 views in the two years it's been on YouTube.