A former prime minister of New Zealand is crying “fake news” after false reports circulating on Facebook suggested he had invested in bitcoin.
According to the New Zealand Herald, a fictitious news website – which itself bore the New Zealand Herald logo – purported that John Key, who served as prime minister from 2008 to 2016. The page, which was reportedly circulated on Facebook in the wake of its release, purported that Key was claiming a $300 million windfall from an initial investment of $1,000.
Key, who is currently the chairman of ANZ Bank New Zealand, is crying foul, stating that he never invested in or endorsed bitcoin.
The webpage in question, linked below, included a photo of Key as well as a quote attributed to him.
Key told the real Herald that he has asked Facebook to remove the post to prevent it from being shared further. So far, Facebook has not moved to remove the content.
He told the newspaper:
“This is outrageous. People are at risk here and you’d think Facebook would take their responsibilities seriously.”
The report in question is titled “Bitcoin is about to surge and make thousands of new millionaires: how you can turn $50 into a fortune!” and claims that investors in bitcoin can claim “legal tax-free cash” in the nation.
Key told the Herald he received messages thanking him for the advice and saying that people invested in the world’s largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization because of it.
The New Zealand Herald also disclosed that it, too, is moving to have the page removed, given that it represents a false version of its website.
John Key image via Wikimedia Commons