The National:

A FAKE report on Nicola Sturgeon’s expletive-laden WhatsApp messages has gone viral.

The inaccurate claims on social media followed true reports that the former first minister had labelled Boris Johnson a “f***ing clown” in private messages shown to the UK Covid Inquiry.

In WhatsApps sent to her former chief of staff Liz Lloyd as Johnson announced a second lockdown, Sturgeon said it was “f***ing excruciating”.

But a post from a satirical account on Twitter/X claimed that Sturgeon had done far more, taking aim at other Tory ministers.

The fake report stated: “BREAKING [light emojis].

“Nicola Sturgeon urged to apologise after leaked WhatsApp messages describing Matt Hancock as ‘Weaker than a nun’s piss’, Liz Truss as ‘About as much use as a marzipan dildo’, and referring to Suella Braverman as ‘Shitler’.”

The phrase “marzipan dildo” began trending on social media as people took the satirical post from the @PoliticoForYou account at face value.

The phrase was originally from the comedy The Thick Of It, by Scots satirist Armando Iannucci.

He credited another writer, Ian Martin, with having created the phrase.

“Credit must go to great writer, @IanMartin, whose ‘Marzipan Dildo’ has been unofficially commandeered,” Iannucci wrote on social media.

Comedian Jason Manford appeared to be one of the Twitter/X users to be taken in by the fake report.

“So rare to agree wholeheartedly with every word a politician said,” he replied to the initial post.

Another user also appeared to be taken in, writing: “I always liked her, but honestly @NicolaSturgeon has just gone up in my estimation. Urged to apologise for, what, telling the truth?”

A third also looked to fall for the trap, writing: "I have no idea of what the problem is with any of this!! It’s the most on the money Nicola Sturgeon has ever been!!"

This, if nothing else, is a lesson in checking sources before believing what you read online.