A screenshot of a fabricated statement attributed to former President Donald Trump calling former Vice President Mike Pence “weak” is being mistaken as authentic. But Trump never released such a statement. Let’s take a look at the facts.
NewsLit takeaway: Digital images are easy to doctor, and text elements are particularly simple to alter. It’s always a good idea to double-check the authenticity of images that contain text — especially screenshots that aren’t accompanied by a URL. This example also demonstrates Poe’s Law: A maxim of internet culture that says an unlabeled satirical comment or parody post can be easily mistaken for a sincere, legitimate comment.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.