How a fake Twitter account sent the world oil market into frenzy

World oil markets were sent into frenzy earlier this week, following tweets from a user claiming to be Russian interior minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev.

According to Reuters, the fake Kolokoltsev claimed on Twitter that Russia’s envoy to Syria, Sergei Kirpichenko, had just informed him that Syrian president Bashar al-Assad “has been killed or injured”.

Russian officials quickly responded to the hoax, pointing out that Kirpichenko had “said nothing of the sort”, and the real Kolokoltsev does not have a Twitter account.

The news highlights the growing importance of monitoring social media and the potential for unverified hoaxes to go viral.

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