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  1. ITV Report

Man behind 'giant Wembley lasagna' message which mocked coronavirus fake news messages says he wanted to cheer up nation

  • ITV News Reporter Ria Chatterjee speaks to Billy McLean about his spoof lasagne message

The man behind the spoof voice note that a "massive lasagna" was being cooked at Wembley stadium amid the coronavirus crisis said he is glad so many people have found the message funny.

Billy McLean, a 29-year-old Londoner, recorded the clip in a bid to cheer people up amid all the fake news being published on social media platforms.

In the message, he claims officials are trying to feed the nation by cooking the enormous pasta dish using the stadium's under pitch heating whilst closing the roof.

He claims to have heard of the effort from his sister's boyfriend's brother, who he says works for the Ministry of Defence.

He claims super-sized lasagne sheets were being made, with the final dish being delivered by drone to people's houses "to make sure everyone is eating".

He signed off the message with: "I'm looking forward to that because I do quite like lasagne, so fair play to them."

The lasagna was said to be being cooked at Wembley Stadium in London. Credit: Unsplash / Anders Krøgh Jørgensen

The voice note, which he sent to 30 of his football mates, has since been shared thousands of times on WhatsApp and other social platforms.

He told ITV News: “Initially it was just a joke amongst my friends but quickly it became apparent how worrying it is that something shared just among friends in a living room with a mobile phone can quickly spread.

“Obviously this joke was fine, but sort of the information that people could believe to be true could be quite dangerous.”

He added: “One of the things it’s shown me is that people have a sense of humour even in difficult times.”

He added: “It’s good that people can have a laugh and a joke with it.

"Overall, its had a positive impact.”

The spread of false information during the coronavirus outbreak has been rapid with well-meaning friends and family sharing messages on a variety of platforms warning of everything from the Army closing London to beating the virus by drinking hot drinks.

Other fake stories that have done the rounds include being able to hold your break for 10 seconds means you don't have coronavirus.

How you can check whether a message you receive is true and how to not spread fake news about coronavirus

  • Are there spelling errors and strange punctuation? Lots of capital letters are also a giveaway. Information from reputable sources will be written in clear, grammatically correct English.
  • Where did the article come from? If it popped up in your social media feed proceed with caution. If the information was shared by a friend do not assume it is accurate. Vet the information and double-check it against official advice before forwarding it to one of your contacts.
  • Is the information on credible news sites, or the government or NHS websites? If not, it is unlikely to be true.
  • Play detective and look at fact-checking websites. Poynter.org has a Coronavirus facts database that has collated many of the most misleading messages.