NEW DELHI: As often happens with major breaking news stories, the rush to report and share -- and garner viewership or readers in the process -- often leads to rumours and false information being passed off as facts. This was no different in the reporting of the deadly Paris attacks, where gunmen killed over 130 people in the French capital on Friday night.

False stories included the image of a man supposedly identified as one of the terrorists (a Canada-based Sikh at that), media outlets saying that the Paris attackers used playstations to communicate prior to the attacks, the link to Calais -- a refugee camp in northern France, the Eiffel Tower switching off its lights in solidarity, and even outrightly insensitive words attributed to the internet’s favourite whipping boy, Donald Trump.

Here’s a look at some of the stories that went viral or were passed off as news (by reputed news outfits too) but are entirely false.

1. An image of one of the terrorists

Canada-based journalist Veerender Jubbal must have had a rude shock when he saw his selfie taken in front of a mirror holding an iPad photoshopped to show him in a suicide vest holding the Quran. The photoshopped image had gone viral, even published by some newspapers, and led many to believe that Jubbal was one of the terrorists behind the attack.

2. The lady who is at all the attacks

Deadly attacks result in attempts to infuse hysteria, and social media makes that attempt easier than it would be otherwise. Take the example of this photoshopped image, that purports to show that one woman was present at the scene of several attacks in recent years.

3. Gunmen used playstations to communicate

This rumour made it all the way to Forbes as fact. An article in Forbes titled “How Paris ISIS Terrorists May Have Used PlayStation 4 To Discuss And Plan Attacks” said:

“The hunt for those responsible (eight terrorists were killed Saturday night, but accomplices may still be at large) led to a number of raids in nearby Brussels. Evidence reportedly turned up included at least one PlayStation 4 console.

Belgian federal home affairs minister Jan Jambon said outright that the PS4 is used by ISIS agents to communicate, and was selected due to the fact that it’s notoriously hard to monitor. “PlayStation 4 is even more difficult to keep track of than WhatsApp,” he said.”

What Forbes missed, or didn’t cross-check, was that Jambon actually made those comments on November 10, three days before the Paris attack, and in the broader context of Belgium’s security weaknesses.

As for the PS4 reportedly found at the scenes of the attack? Forbes now says that was an error, but not before the story was picked up by several others (without re-checking).

4. The link to Calais

Refugees have inadvertently borne part of the brunt of the Paris attacks, as the world moves to restrict refugee inflows over concern the jihadists might enter their borders (the fact that the Paris attacks were carried out largely by French and Belgian citizens, not refugees, is unsurprisingly being overlooked). This is why the rumours that Calais -- a refugee camp in Northern France -- had something to do with the Paris attacks was all the more dangerous.

Early reports in a number of news outlets linked a fire at the camp to the Paris attacks -- falsely. The incident was mere coincidence.

5. Donald Trump’s response

Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump is known for his controversial remarks, so an insensitive Tweet linked to Trump following the Paris attacks didn’t raise a second eyebrow as it went viral. Trump, however, had posted the Tweet in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo attacks; his statement following the Paris attacks wasn’t incendiary in the least.

The viral Tweet:

Trump’s actual Tweet following the Paris attacks:

6. The Eiffel Tower going dark

Some rumours, however, are harmless (or at least as harmless as misinformation can be). Take this image and the news that the iconic Eiffel Tower had switched off its lights in honour of the victims. In reality, the Eiffel Tower goes dark every day at 1 AM.