Fake news release sparks concern and questions in Welland

welland city

The City of Welland says a fake media release posted online over the weekend has sparked concern and many questions.

A fake post, complete with the City of Welland logo and similar media release styling, circulated on social media, sharing false and unfounded information about the construction of a natural land bridge due to backfilling the Welland Canal.

Officials say the post generated significant confusion and prompted questions from residents to councillors and staff.

 “It is disheartening that someone took the time and effort to attempt to recreate an official city document to create confusion and anger,” said Marc MacDonald, corporate communications manager. “All official City communications go out through the same channels and can easily and quickly be verified on our website. If residents have questions about the validity of posts they see online that appear to be from the City of Welland, they are encouraged to contact us.”

Officials say there are some ways to know if a news release is real, including the fact that the city does not include images embedded in its media releases, it does not end media release headlines with punctuation such as periods, and all releases are also posted on their website.

"If there is any doubt whether something circulating on social media is a valid, official release from the City of Welland, readers are encouraged to check for the indicators listed above. In addition, any questions about the validity of posts that appear to be from the City of Welland can be verified through the City’s corporate communications department: communications@welland.ca."