Formula 1 is to take legal action over websites which publish untrue and fabricated stories about the sport on April Fool’s Day.
Chase Carey has described such websites as “irresponsible”, adding that publications only create such stories to see a spike in their website traffic on April 1.
“People used to love April Fool’s Day, but in 2019’s climate of fake news and clickbait, nobody knows what to believe. What I’m saying now could easily be misconstrued, falsely reported or completely misquoted tomorrow.”
Legal action on April Fool’s Day stories marks an unprecedented move, with F1 being the first business to actively seek ending the light-hearted stories. If other companies and businesses also follow F1’s lead, the move could effectively bring an end to April Fool’s Day, a tradition which can be traced back to the days of renowned F1-nut Geoffrey Chaucer.
At Lights Out, ideas mooted for April Fool’s Day stories this year included Pirelli introducing 97 new tyre compounds and extending their range from C1 to C100, plus a story about drivers no longer being permitted to grow facial hair for performance advantages. We ultimately decided not to publish any of these stories out of respect for the new April 1 guidelines, and also because the writer of the blog “could not be bothered” to write an April Fool’s Day article this year. Other websites have not heeded the new guidelines set by Formula 1 and can expect to feel the wrath of the sport’s legal team in the coming hours.
It’s not the first time F1 has taken legal action over misinformation in the press. In 1999, Bernie Ecclestone sued The Sun for claiming he was two inches shorter than he really is.
Do you agree with Formula 1’s new guidelines on April Fool’s Day stories? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!