Fake Swiss government poster calls on people to snitch on energy wasters
In a statement, the Swiss government has said it is distancing itself from a fake official poster calling for people to “snitch” on those that hoard energy. The poster, which was spread rapidly online and has now been inaccurately reported on in the international media, offers 200 Swiss francs to those who report people that use too much heat.
Fake Swiss poster demands residents "snitch" on their neighbours
“Does the neighbour heat the apartment to over 19 degrees? Please inform us," the fake poster said. Bearing the logo of the Swiss Federal Government, the poster depicts a woman with a mobile phone and calls for residents to “catch heating sinners,” offering a reward of 200 francs if they report a neighbour for using too much energy. The phone number on the poster directs callers to the press office of the Federal Department of Energy.
According to 20 minuten, the image has been in widespread circulation since September 10, 10 days after the government released its energy austerity plan. While the government did call for people to save power to avoid blackouts this winter, all the policies implemented are voluntary - for now - and none involve “snitching on neighbours.”
This was confirmed by the Federal Department of Energy, which told 20 minuten that the government had nothing to do with the poster. “There are no such federal posters, nor do we call for people to be denigrated,” noted department spokesperson Simone Hug.
Fake Swiss poster spreads across social media
The poster has already been spread far and wide by social media platforms like Telegram, so much so that a Slovakian newspaper, Zem&Vek, originally shared the poster as genuine with the caption: "In Switzerland, the authorities have started a kind of cooperation with the population."
20 minuten concluded that the poster was an obvious fake, as a back search from Google reveals the image to be a “blank billboard” mockup - the template is blank and can be photoshopped to say whatever is desired. The source of the fake poster is yet to be determined.