SATIRE: This video of British songwriter David Bowie predicting the future of the internet in 1999 is a joke | by PesaCheck | January 2023

This video on Facebook purporting to show a 1999 interview with British songwriter David Bowie predicting a bleak future for the internet is SATIRICAL.

“David Bowie predicts the impact of the internet on Newsnight (1999). Watch till the end,” reads the post accompanying the video.

The video occasionally cuts out the show’s host, Jeremy Paxman, to capture his facial expressions.

“I don’t think we’ve even seen the tip of the iceberg. I think the potential for what the internet is going to do to society, both good and bad, is unimaginable,” Bowie begins.

“It’s just a tool now, isn’t it,” Paxman interjects.

“No, it’s more than that. For example, I think in the future we will waste hours and hours of our lives watching videos of adorable cats and dogs. And we will share these videos with our friends. And our friends will respond, not with words, but with a row of laughing little circular cartoon faces. And we’ll call that progress.

Bowie continues, “And we also won’t be able to watch any of these videos without having to skip an ad first. And that ad will be tailored to your internet viewing habits, though for some reason it’s still going to be gross oatmeal cereal that you’ll never buy anyway… And there will be groups of extreme right who will spread misinformation about immigration on these social media sites which will then be shared by our own family members.

The songwriter, who deceased in 2016 appeared in a BBC interview show dubbed “Newsnight” in 1999, and the broadcaster shared a video of that interview on Youtube in 2022. In the interview, the music icon talked about his life in music with from the BBC Jeremy Paxman. He also talked about what he thought was the impact of the internet.

However, in the original video, Bowie wears his natural hair but in the satirical video, the character impersonating him appears to be wearing a wig.

Legit David Bowie video (left) versus the parody version (right).

The parody video was originally tweeted by British comedian Michael Spicer in 2022. Spicer is known for his satirical video show, The next room.

The satirical video begins with an authentic version of Bowie’s interview with the BBC captured in minute 9:46 as well as Paxman’s interjection. But that’s all that is similar between the two videos.

Bowie never mentions anything about the emergence of far-right disinformation groups, emojis or targeted social media ads as the satirical video claims.

Instead, Bowie focuses more on the impact of the internet on music. “That the Internet is an extraterrestrial life form. I’m talking about the actual context and the state of the content is going to be so different from anything we can really envision when the interaction between the user and the provider is going to be so simpatico,” Bowie said.

“The idea that the work isn’t finished until the audience comes to it and adds their own interpretation of what it’s about is the gray space in the middle. That gray space in the middle is what the 21st century will be,” the music icon added.

Also, unlike the satirical video, Paxman intervenes several more times in the original video.

PesaCheck reviewed the video shared on Facebook purporting to be a 1999 interview with British songwriter David Bowie predicting a bleak future for the internet and found it SATIRICAL.

This post is part of an ongoing series of PesaCheck fact checks examining content marked as potential misinformation on Facebook and other social media platforms.

By partnering with Facebook and similar social media platforms, third-party fact-checking organizations like PesaCheck help tell fact from fiction. We do this by giving audiences deeper insight and context into the posts they see in their social media feeds.

Have you spotted what you think is fake or false information on Facebook? Here’s how you can report. And, here is more information on The PesaCheck methodology to check for questionable content.

This fact check was written by PesaCheck’s senior fact checker Simon Muli and edited by the editor of PesaCheck Cedrick Thank you and acting editor Francois Mwaniki.

The article has been approved for publication by the editor of PesaCheck Doreen Wainainah.

PesaCheck is the first public finance fact-checking initiative in East Africa. It was co-founded by Catherine Gicheru and Justin Arensteinand is incubated by the continent’s largest civic tech and data journalism accelerator: Code for Africa. It aims to help the public separate fact from fiction in public statements about the numbers that shape our world, with particular emphasis on public finance statements that shape government delivery of public services and development goals. (SDGs), such as health care, rural development and access to water/sanitation. PesaCheck also tests the accuracy of media reporting. To learn more about the project, visit

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PesaCheck is an initiative of Code for Africathrough his fund innovateAFRICAwith the support of Deutsche Welle Academyin partnership with a coalition of local African media and other civic watch organizations.

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