Fake news posts on social media featuring positive headlines about Malta to draw people in have been reported to the police, the government said in a brief statement on Monday.

The websites’ Facebook posts feature photos of Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and other government figures above headlines such as ‘The government swears to boost the income of all citizens’.

Clicking on the sponsored posts leads viewers to a variety of similar websites which all point to promotion pitches for cryptocurrency Bitcoin. The fake news posts have featured on local social media feeds for several weeks. 

Times of Malta last week asked the Office of the Prime Minister to confirm it had nothing to do with the suspicious adverts and whether it would be reporting them to Facebook. No reply was forthcoming.

However, on Monday the government said it had filed a police report about the fake news websites and social media posts.

“The government takes these articles, which have fraudulent intentions and portray Malta in a negative light, very seriously,” the statement said.

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