Fabricated WEF story published by site known for false news
CLAIM: The World Economic Forum has declared “pedophiles will save humanity” and is calling for the decriminalization of sex with children because laws that prevent it “violate human rights.”
AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. These claims originated on a website that is known to publish false news and misinformation. The WEF has not made any such declaration, nor is it calling for the decriminalization of sex between adults and children, according to a spokesperson for the WEF, who said the article was “completely made up.”
THE FACTS: A baseless article that falsely claims the international organization is taking a public stance sympathetic to pedophilia, while seeking to decriminalize it, is drawing tens of thousands of shares online.
The claims came from a website called News Punch, which has published numerous stories based on conspiracy theories and has promoted fabricated information and quotes in the past.
The article was published Tuesday with the headline: “World Economic Forum Declares Pedophiles ‘Will Save Humanity.’” One Twitter user who shared the story on Wednesday received more than 10,000 retweets and 15,000 likes on the post, which was also viewed more than 450,000 times.
Users commenting on the tweet appeared to believe the information was real, though some questioned the credibility of the site that reported it.
The article claimed — without citing any evidence or sources — that WEF Chairman Klaus Schwab called pedophilia “nature’s gift” to humanity. It also falsely stated that a research paper presented at the forum in Davos, Switzerland, described pedophilia as “nature’s attempt to cleanse the earth and ‘save humanity’ from itself.”
Yann Zopf, head of media for the WEF, said the assertions are entirely fabricated.
“This is of course completely made up,” Zopf wrote in an email to The Associated Press on Friday. “I confirm that the World Economic Forum never made any statement of this kind and has never produced such a research paper.”
Zopf added that the quote attributed to Schwab was also fabricated.
No evidence for these claims, or any mention of such a research paper, can be found on the WEF’s website.
An image of a tweet purporting to be from the WEF that was included in the article and said “Age gap love laws violate human rights” is also fake. No record of this tweet exists on the forum’s page, or in online archives. Zopf also confirmed it is not genuine.
“News Punch, LLC and/or its suppliers make no representations about the suitability, reliability, availability, timeliness, and accuracy of the information, software, products, services and related graphics contained on the site for any purpose,” the disclaimer states.
Representatives for News Punch and the article’s author did not immediately return a request for comment.
The claims come as the WEF prepares for its annual meeting in Davos this month. The organization, and its annual forum, are frequent targets of misinformation and conspiracy theories about global leaders and international power.
This is part of AP’s effort to address widely shared misinformation, including work with outside companies and organizations to add factual context to misleading content that is circulating online. Learn more about fact-checking at AP.