An imposter tweet designed to look like it came from CNN’s verified Twitter account falsely claims that the actor Steven Seagal is traveling with Russian special forces in Ukraine. But that’s not true. Let’s take a look at the facts.
Imposter content designed to appear to come from an authoritative source is common during major breaking news events when people are eager to find and share updated information. The involvement of a celebrity — especially one with actual ties to the Russian government — only enhances the viral appeal of this example. This is a good reminder to always be wary of purported social media posts circulating as screenshots with no link to an actual post. Such images are extremely easy to create using freely available online tools.
Related: “Fact check: Phony images masquerading as CNN coverage go viral amid war in Ukraine” (Daniel Dale, CNN).
- “Posts falsely claim Steven Seagal with Russian forces in Ukraine” (Claire Savage, AFP Fact Check).
NLP’s viral rumor rundown is a regular feature in The Sift, its weekly email newsletter for educators, and in Get Smart About News, its weekly email newsletter for the general public. You can subscribe to these newsletters here. Send suggestions, questions or feedback on this rumor or on the viral rumor rundown blog to email@example.com.