View all newsletters
Sign up for our free email newsletters

Fighting for quality news media in the digital age.

  1. News
August 25, 2022updated 07 Oct 2022 7:13am

Independent, MSN and Yahoo duped into announcing death of Elena Ferrante

By Dominic Ponsford

The Independent appears to have been duped into reporting that pseudonymous writer Elena Ferrante has died.

Ferrante is the name used by the Italian author of various novels including My Brilliant Friend.

The Independent article announcing Ferrante’s death was apparently written by the overnight team at around 1.30am and has since been taken down. At time of writing a syndicated version of The Independent piece was still appearing on Yahoo News and MSN.

The Independent article annnouncing Ferrante’s death has been replaced with a dead link.

According to the Brazilian website Folha De S.Paulo, the fake news of the novelist’s death was circulating on Twitter last night after it was announced on a hoax account imitating Editorial Lumen, a publishing house which distributes the author’s work in Spanish.

An hour after the prank, the fake account reportedly changed its profile to read: “This account is a hoax created by Italian journalist Tommasso Debenedetti.”

Debeneditti has previously used fake tweets to kill a pope, Fidel Castro and Pedro Almodovar.

Content from our partners
New technology from EX.CO helps publishers double on-site video revenue
Five ways to fail in media job interviews
How Germany's Ippen.Media mastered content planning across 86 newsrooms

In an interview with The Guardian in 2012, Debeneditti said his fake Tweets were driven by his desire to expose “how weak the media was in Italy.”

Publisher Europa Editions UK said on Twitter: “In light of the recent wave of fake news about Elena Ferrante, we’d like to remind readers and press to verify facts with us.”

Who is Elena Ferrante?

Elena Ferrante’s real identity remains a closely guarded secret.

But the novelist does give occasional interviews.

The LA Times spoke to the writer in 2018 and wrote this: “Elena Ferrante is a woman without a face, whose identity is known only to her Italian publisher, E/O.

“Her name is a pseudonym, its sound a discreet homage to the great Italian novelist Elsa Morante, author of ‘Arturo’s Island’ — whose work, Ferrante says here, she has always appreciated.

“No one has ever succeeded in revealing Ferrante’s true identity, although certain names have circulated in the press: Domenico Starnone, a Neapolitan screenwriter and novelist, and winner of the Strega Prize in 2001; or Anita Raja, a Roman translator.

“Nearly two years ago, Italian journalist Claudio Gatti published a scoop, identifying Raja as Ferrante, after having scoured her tax returns and deciding that her assets exceeded that of the average income of a person in her profession. Against all odds, the supposed revelation of the identity of Ferrante provoked a worldwide scandal.

“For her readers, Ferrante must be allowed to remain anonymous, should she wish to be. An international outcry rose up, from enraged readers who sought to protect the writer they love, and whose anonymity they wish to preserve. Nothing of the like had ever been seen before.”

Topics in this article :

Email to point out mistakes, provide story tips or send in a letter for publication on our "Letters Page" blog

Select and enter your email address Weekly insight into the big strategic issues affecting the future of the news industry. Essential reading for media leaders every Thursday. Your morning brew of news about the world of news from Press Gazette and elsewhere in the media. Sent at around 10am UK time. Our weekly does of strategic insight about the future of news media aimed at US readers. A fortnightly update from the front-line of news and advertising. Aimed at marketers and those involved in the advertising industry.
  • Business owner/co-owner
  • CEO
  • COO
  • CFO
  • CTO
  • Chairperson
  • Non-Exec Director
  • Other C-Suite
  • Managing Director
  • President/Partner
  • Senior Executive/SVP or Corporate VP or equivalent
  • Director or equivalent
  • Group or Senior Manager
  • Head of Department/Function
  • Manager
  • Non-manager
  • Retired
  • Other
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how Progressive Media Investments may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.
Thank you

Thanks for subscribing.

Websites in our network