It may be sad. It may be infuriating. It is inevitable. Within 24 hours of the Paris Attacks, people around the world began to look for clues, anything really, that they could point to to show that the attacks were a hoax. It happens after every major European terror attack and will continue to do so. The reason; some people refuse to believe that such a thing can happen without it being ‘part of the plan.’
A recent article on BosniaPress.info initiated a regular conspiracist claim regarding the timeline of information release when tragedy occurs. The article headline claims ‘Paris Attack Reported on WIKIPEDIA and TWITTER before it happened.’ The story was immediately picked up by Reddit users via r/conspiracy and proliferated within the hours following the Paris Attacks that took the lives of at least 120.
Given the regularity of such claims being made immediately after events contested by conspiracists as ‘false flag operations’ or hoaxes of some sort, let us consider the internet timestamp.
The BosniaPress story utilizes a static time (CET) for a basis of its claim that twitter user @pzbooks posted about the Paris Attacks before they occurred, thus insinuating that the attacks were pre-planned by someone connected to that Twitter handle. The Twitter handle was registered, as per the BosniaPress story, to an IP address in the United Kingdom. The image on the front of the news article sites a time stamp of 11/11/2015 at 19:44 (2 days before the attacks). Central European Time (CET) is the timezone for Bosnia and for France. The attacks began around 21:16 CET. The UK IP address that is cited is the IP that edited earlier versions of the Wikipedia page. The same IP is then, surreptitiously, linked to the Twitter account mentioned above which has since been disabled. The Wiki page, as of 11/13/15 @ 23:06 CET is the earliest linked evidence that the BosniaPress article cites. They claim that earlier edits to the Wiki page showed privileged information that could not yet be known. They cite the mention of PM Hollande declaring a state of emergency at 23:58 on the 23:06 version of the Wiki page. Though the time listed seems to be a red flag to anyone looking for mistakes with the intent to claim a conspiracy, the information source was taken from the UK news source, The Guardian. The Guardian page sourced was regularly posting updated information regarding the Paris Attacks the day of. The French PM’s declaration of state of emergency (per the Wiki page) occurred at 23:58 (CET) and was posted on Wikipedia via a UK Ip address citing UK news agency info at 23:06 GMT (or CET+1). This may confuse some folks, but even Wikipedia can be confusing sometimes.
As for the Twitter handle, @pzbooks. It has since been disabled. The Reddit community did a bit of review of this twitter handle and found that it seemingly takes unrelated news stories and merges them to post regularly irrelevant tweets. One redditor on the thread r/conspiracy noted
“Okay, as much as I would love a legit false-flag “smoking gun”, this seems to be the best detective work so far in the thread.”
I’m not saying don’t look for conspiracies, but there is no smoking gun (or ‘smoking time stamp’) here.
For additional claims that the Paris Attacks were a false-flag, see here. Don’t be surprised if you hear more about this in the months to come.