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HOAX - 'Don't Travel on the Tubes' Terror Threat Rumour


Message circulating via SMS, social media, and email warns UK residents not to travel on the tubes tomorrow because of a possible terror threat. The warning claims that ALL Metropolitan Police have been called into work.

Tube terror threat
© Woodstock

Brief Analysis

Police have dismissed the warning as a hoax. UK authorities have recently changed the terror threat level to 'severe' and UK citizens should certainly remain vigilant. However, there is no credible evidence to support the specific claims in this circulating warning message. And the claim that all Met police have been called in to work is false. Spreading false warnings such as this does nothing but cause unnecessary fear and alarm. If you receive this bogus warning message, please do not share it.


Don't travel on the tubes tomorrow. Every single police officer in the met has been called into work from 4am onwards, even people on holiday are being told to catch the next flight home. They think there's a terror threat and that it will happen on the tubes tomorrow around the west end area. So don't go travelling on the tubes!! It's better to be safe than sorry. Forwarded to me from a friend x"

Detailed Analysis

'Warning' Message Tells of Tube Terror Attack 'Tomorrow'

According to a message currently going viral via SMS, social media, and email, police believe that there may be a terror attack on London's underground transport system. The message warns that police think the attack may happen 'tomorrow' on the tubes around the West End area.

It claims that ALL Metropolitan Police have been called to duty as a result of the terror threat and advises people not to travel on the tubes.

Warning is a Hoax - No Official Advisories Back Claims in the Warning

However, police in the UK have dismissed the warning as a hoax. There are no official warnings or advisories that support the claims in the circulating message. There is nothing on the Metropolitan Police website about an imminent terror threat to London's transport system.  Nor are there any notifications on other UK Government websites. Furthermore, a Metropolitan Police spokesman told BuzzFeed that claims that extra police are being called in is 'completely untrue'.

Thus, sharing the message is counterproductive and will do nothing more than spread uneccessary fear an alarm. If you recieve this message, please do not share it with others.

It should be noted, however, that the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre has recently changed the threat level from international terrorism from substantial to severe. Thus, UK citizens should certainly be cautious and watch for official advisories.

In its statement about the threat level change, the Home Office notes:

The Home Secretary today announced that the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre has changed the threat level from international terrorism from substantial to severe.

This means a terrorist attack is highly likely, although there is no intelligence to suggest that one is imminent.
And, if an attack were expected imminently, the threat level would be changed to 'critical'.

Message Cites No Source and Specifies No Date

As per usual with such hoaxes, the message does not cite any references for the information it contains. If there were reliable information about such an attack available to the public, then it would have been extensively covered by the mainstream media. The message suggests that the police 'think' that there is a terror threat for the West End area, but makes no mention of where the author of the warning obtained this information.

Moreover, the message does not specify a date for the supposed attack, but just vaguely refers to 'tomorrow'.

And, a real problem with this non-specific time frame is that the bogus message may continue to circulate for weeks or months into the future, always warning about an attack 'tomorrow'.

Given the current threat level, UK citizens should remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity to the police. However, the claims in this circulating message are false and it should not be sent on.

© kmiragaya

Last updated: September 1, 2014
First published: September 1, 2014
By Brett M. Christensen
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