Regarding the dimming of the livecam, he pointed out that the camera exposure on livefeeds changes in response to weather conditions.
“In any case,” he wrote, “you can see the lights are very much on. You can see the dome, you can see the lights of the colonnade, you can see some office/apartment lights, you can see the nativity lights, you can see the Christmas tree star.”
Did conspiracy theorists seize on the claims in the Conservative Beaver report?
They did. Conspiratorially minded Twitter users sought to connect the report to the U.S. elections, as well as a massive power outage in Pakistan.
How did the Conservative Beaver site respond to the debunking of its report?
The website posted an update on Sunday responding to readers who pointed out that Pope Francis had tweeted that very morning. It argued that the tweet had been scheduled in advance by the pope’s social media team and insisted that “Pope Francis is still in Federal Custody in Italy, hence, he has not been seen on video.”
Has Pope Francis made any appearances since the report?
Yes. He delivered his Angelus address as usual via livestream from the library of the Apostolic Palace on Sunday morning.
Has the Vatican reacted to the report?
When asked about the report on Jan. 11, the Holy See press office responded by pointing to Pope Francis’ busy schedule of meetings on Monday morning, implying that it was business as usual at the Vatican.
Has Pope Francis said anything about “fake news”?
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Yes. He dedicated his 2018 message for World Communications Day to the topic, arguing that “fake news” dates back to the temptation of Adam and Eve by the serpent in the Garden of Eden.
“The strategy of this skilled ‘Father of Lies’ (John 8:44) is precisely mimicry, that sly and dangerous form of seduction that worms its way into the heart with false and alluring arguments,” he wrote.
The pope also devoted part of his most recent encyclical, “Fratelli tutti,” to media distortions. He noted that the internet was marked by “closed circuits” that “facilitate the spread of fake news and false information.”
Has Pope Francis been a target of “fake news” before?
This is not the first time that false reports have circulated about Pope Francis. In 2013, for example, a widely circulated report claimed that the pope had declared that “all religions are true” at the “Third Vatican Council.” In 2015, a viral article said that the Pope had announced that he was revising the Ten Commandments. The Vatican blackout story is just the latest example.