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Did musician Bob Geldof predict the internet’s future in 1999? Did he suggest it would help raise the Antichrist? No, satirical video from 2016

IN SHORT: The video doesn’t show Boomtown Rats lead singer Bob Geldof. It’s a jokey ripoff, made in 2016, of David Bowie’s 1999 Newsnight interview in which the English musician made good predictions about the internet. But neither video has anything to say about the coming of the Antichrist.

A video has been posted on Facebook in Nigeria with the claim it shows a 1999 interview with Bob Geldof, in which the Irish singer-songwriter and political activist predicts the tactics of the Antichrist.

In the video, popular BBC Newsnight presenter Jeremy Paxman appears to be interviewing a man who the Facebook user claims is Geldof. 

The man discusses his views on the future of the internet. These are oddly specific and accurate – given that they were supposedly made almost a quarter of a century ago.

He says, for example, that “in the future, we will be wasting hours and hours of our lives just watching videos of cats and dogs”. He also describes today’s phone obsession – “just scrolling on our phones, just scrolling and scrolling, because the scrolling never ends”.

Near the end of the video he adds: “And one day a far-right government will take advantage of the fact that we’re just spending all day arguing with strangers on the toilet, and they will seize power whilst we’re not looking, and that is when freedom and democracy will become a thing of the past.”

The user who posted the video latches onto this bit as some kind of indication that Bob Geldof, in 1999, was referring to the Antichrist.

Their description of the video reads:

This was an interview of Bob Geldof the pop singer by BBC in 1999. At the time it was thought that he was high and ranting impossibilities. However, This is uncannily prophetic and it’s too accurate to be his imagination. It’s insight knowledge from some powers believe me! Isn’t this the case with the internet now? It seems it’s a distraction to ease the appearance of the anti Christ and it’s closer than we think! He’s actually predicting the end and the appearance of the Beast who will seize world power as written in the Bible in the Books of Daniel, Revelations and the direct words of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The Antichrist is mentioned three times in the new testament of the Christian bible. As the name suggests, it’s supposed to be the opposite of Jesus Christ. Instead of the son of the Christian God, it’s the son of Satan. It’s a symbol of evil whose coming will begin the supposed “end times” – a popular (and not that recent) apocalyptic conspiracy theory.

Throughout history several figures, including popes and former US president Barack Obama, have been accused of being the Antichrist. 

But what is the truth behind the video?

After a Google reverse image search of a frame from the video, we found that it’s been fact-checked for years. Some online claims are that the man being interviewed is Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones.

But the video is actually a spoof. It’s a funny take – made in 2016 – on a real 1999 Newsnight interview, not with Geldof or Jagger, but with the late English musician David Bowie.


Comparison of the two videos’ content

In the original BBC Newsnight video, from the 10:44 to 11:06 mark, the words by both speakers are exactly the same as in the claim video. But from this point, it is only the interviewee speaking, and the content of the audio in the claim video is different from the original

It is during this part that the interviewee is giving details about the future. It is also clear that the interviewee in the claim video is neither Geldof, nor Bowie.

Instead, it is a person who looks closely similar to how Bowie looked like on the Newsnight video. The claim video features both the audio and visual elements of a portion of the original video, starting from 11:04, where the interviewer can be heard saying: “It’s just a tool, though. Isn’t it?”

Different backgrounds

The background seen when the interviewer is speaking in both videos is that of a wide office. But in the claim video, the background seen when the interviewee is speaking is different and seems more like a studio setting. 

Therefore, this video has been carefully edited to appear as if it’s one interview of the two men sitting across from each other, but it’s really an edit of two different videos.

We also found the original video that was shared in the false claims. The video was posted by Michael Spicer, a popular British comedian, on his Twitter page on 3 January 2022. 

His tweet reads: “David Bowie Predicts the Impact of the Internet on Newsnight (1999).” The tweet and video were likely intended to be funny and satirical, but they have been misinterpreted by many.

The Antichrist claims made in the Facebook post are therefore an overinterpretation of the video. Since the video is just a satirical edit of an old video with new audio made decades later, it is not “prophetic” as claimed.

More than this, satirical content posted online is just another form of misinformation. The Facebook post, with its caption, is false.

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