Fake memo circulating claiming to be from Imperial College

19 June 2021
What was claimed

A memo from Imperial College London sets out plans for a permanent lockdown of the UK.

Our verdict

The memo is a fake.

A fake ‘leaked memorandum’ purportedly from Imperial epidemiologist Professor Neil Ferguson is circulating on social media.

The document claims to be a ‘memo’ from Professor Ferguson, who advises the government as part of the New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group, circulated to a large group of people discussing plans for a “Permanent Lockdown of the UK”.

Imperial College London has made a statement describing it as an “obvious fake” which was not written by Professor Ferguson, and said that some people have threatened and abused Imperial staff. 

The document does appear to be an obvious fake. 

It has no credible or traceable source.  For example, the Facebook post linked to just says “I was sent screenshots yesterday by a friend”.

It makes extraordinary claims without any credible evidence, suggesting that a motley crew of 25 people copied on the ‘memo’, ranging from doctors to senior government officials to business people to reporters, are able to carry out this conspiracy.

It makes demonstrably false claims, such as describing a new variant of the virus as “just a re-branding of Hay Fever”.

The details and language aren’t quite right. It refers to black people as ‘Blacks’ and gets some of the names and titles of recipients wrong.

Full Fact’s toolkit details three questions to ask yourself to help you spot online disinformation.

This article is part of our work fact checking potentially false pictures, videos and stories on Facebook. You can read more about this—and find out how to report Facebook content—here. For the purposes of that scheme, we’ve rated this claim as false because the ‘memorandum’ is not genuine.

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