Several newspapers published online articles on 14 November claiming that Greater Manchester Police were searching for a boy and a ‘suspicious male’ after a member of the public reported that the child had been heard telling the man “you’re not my dad”. The stories were published along with an image of the man and boy walking together.
While it is true that police did put out a call for help in locating the man on 14 November, they confirmed several hours later that the boy is safe and well with his father and described the report as a “false call made with good intent”.
Full Fact contacted several media organisations before 11am on 15 November to alert them to the police update, after the original stories and accompanying image remained online.
The Mail Online ran a version of this article, but deleted the story and removed it from social media after we got in touch. The Sun had also published a version of the story, which it updated several hours after we contacted it. However, the Sun’s original share of the article on Facebook had not been taken down or amended as of 5pm on 15 November, when we originally published our fact check.
The Mirror had also failed to update or delete its article as of 5pm on 15 November, despite us contacting it.
Update 17 November 2021
After this fact check was first published, the Mirror deleted its article from its website and social media channels, and the Sun edited its social media post to reflect the update.