A fake news story on worldnewsdailyreport.com spread across Facebook and Twitter this morning, breaking the hearts of many single ladies across in the UAE region in the process. The article claims that the Crown Prince of Dubai, Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, had announced his engagement to ‘a former street girl’.
The article, written by an anonymous source, has all the ingredients of fairy tale that no doubt contributed to the frenzy around it. A handsome, wealthy, adventurous, philanthropic prince proposes to a woman called Kalila Said, a “Palestinian refugee who grew in the streets of a shantytown near the Arab metropolis.” The article then outlines the alleged details of Sheikh Hamdan’s former relationships, why he is such a fine catch and the romantic story of their courtship.
The first glaringly obvious clue that this story may be a hoax is that there are definitely no shantytowns near Dubai. The article is accompanied by a photograph of the Crown Prince smiling happily next to an equally happy attractive brunette. Her hair is a little unruly and she wears a white blouse and black leather jacket. Emirates Woman traced the image back to the photo file-sharing site Flickr. It is dated 2010 and the caption says that the woman is in fact an “Iraqi singer.” On further investigation we identified her as Rahma Riad, an Iraqi singer, artist and actress. Certainly no Cinderella.
These clues did not stop the story from making the rounds on social media. Several people took to twitter to spread this feel-good story and wish the couple well. Many women also expressed disappointment, lightheartedly jokingly, that the “lady’s prize” (as the article describes Sheikh Hamdan) was now off the “market” and their chances of a fairy tale ending were over.
The Crown Prince is active on Twitter, but there was no news of the engagement on his timeline, rather he posted a photo of himself and his father His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum at the opening of the Royal Ascot races yesterday, in the UK.
But the smoking gun that suggest all the story is untrue is the website’s disclaimer which reads: “World News Daily Report is a news and political satire web publication, which may or may not use real names, often in semi-real or mostly fictitious ways. All news articles contained within worldnewsdailyreport.com are fiction, and presumably fake news. Any resemblance to the truth is purely coincidental, except for all references to politicians and/or celebrities, in which case they are based on real people, but still based almost entirely in fiction.”
So, there you have it ladies – the Crown Prince is still very much available for your fairy tale ending.