French scientist Étienne Klein Tweeted a photo of a slice of chorizo against a black background, commenting, “Photo of Proxima Centauri, the closest star to the Sun, located 4.2 light years from us. It was taken by the JWST [James Webb Space Telescope]. This level of detail… A new world is revealed day after day.”
Many people believed Klein because he is the director of research at the Atomic Energy Commission. Klien soon cleared up the confusion.
From HuffPost France (machine translated);
” According to contemporary cosmology, no object relating to Spanish charcuterie exists elsewhere than on Earth,” he wrote before adding: “I feel obliged to specify that this tweet showing an alleged snapshot of Proxima du Centaur was a form of amusement. Let us learn to distrust arguments from authority as much as the spontaneous eloquence of certain images…“
Contacted by The HuffPost, Etienne Klein explains that his tweets had above all an educational aim. “This is the first time I’ve made a joke when I’m more on this network as a figure of scientific authority. The good news is that some immediately understood the deception but it also took two tweets to clarify. It also illustrates the fact that on this type of social network, fake news is always more successful than real news. I also think that if I hadn’t said it was a photo of James Webb, it wouldn’t have been so successful,” he explains.