Washington DC didn’t have a blackout with communications being suspended

Claim: The authorities in DC prevented the protesters from using their smartphones to communicate with each other on June 1, 2020 by turning off Internet and cell phone services on a temporary “blackout.”

Facts: In the early hours of June 1, 2020, thousands of tweets using the #DCBlackout hashtag said that communications had been blocked in Washington DC to diminish protests. The DC blackout hoax became a global trend with more than 500,000 tweets spread on Facebook, Reddit and Instagram.

Truth: According to the BBC, Twitter “has suspended hundreds of spammy accounts that used the hashtag, citing the company’s platform manipulation and spam policies”' following this hoax. Moreover, as NetBlocks.org shows, there was “no indication of mass-scale internet disruption overnight or through the last 48 hours.” Many journalists and organisations such as Black Lives Matter DC said the rumor was faked and that they were not affected by any communication disruption.

Police officers didn’t destroy their own vehicle to blame protestors

Claim: Police officers in Boston destroyed their own car to blame protestors for violence against them.

Fact: During the night of May 30, 2020, in Boston, police officers were filmed breaking a police vehicle’s windshield.

Protestors are filming, pointing at them to accuse them of smashing their own car. “Boston cops caught on video smashing their own car, as to blame it on protestors” is the caption we can read above the video.

Truth: A video published later showed that this video was taken out of context. The new video shows a police car being attacked by protestors that are jumping on it.

Policemen are then filmed trying to take the broken windshield to drive away. The first video was therefore taken when the policemen were trying to drive away and were removing the damages the protesters did to their vehicle.

MSNBC didn’t use fake images to push the narrative around the riots in Philadelphia

Claim: MSNBC used images from a zombie movie to push the narrative around the protests in Philadelphia on Monday, June 1st.

Fact: The American cable TV MSNBC was accused of using the zombie movie, “World War Z”, to describe the violent situation in Philadelphia.

On Twitter, many users claimed that the TV was using these fake images to push the narrative. A montage was shared on Twitter to prove this claim. It illustrates the presumed hoax with a screenshot taken in the zombie movie and the screenshot of the broadcast channel.

Truth: On Monday, July 1st, a Twitter user, Bad Scotter shared this collage for the first time. However, a detail was missed by the internet users: in the right-hand corner, you can notice the man’s signature with the note “not real”. Bad Scooter apologized on Twitter by saying: “Well that escalated quickly. YES, that MSNBC clip was from World War Z, I even marked the video above the MSNBC logo ‘NOT REAL.’ I dramatically underestimated Twitter, many pointed it out, some claimed it was "real"-that was stupid of me.” The American broadcast didn’t try to push the narrative around the protests in Philadelphia with images taken from a zombie movie.

George Floyd’s murderer hasn’t been seen wearing a ‘Make Whites Great Again’ hat

Claim: A man pictured in a photo wearing a red baseball cap that says “Make Whites Great Again” is Derek Chauvin, the Minneapolis police officer accused of killing George Floyd.

Facts: On May 27, a collage has been shared widely on social media, including on Bishop Talbert Swan’s official Twitter account, who said: “Here is Derek Chauvin, the racist cop who kept his knee on George Floyd’s neck, cut off his air passage and murdered him, wearing a “Make Whites Great Again” hat, a clear sign that this piece of excrement should’ve been taken off the streets a long time ago”.

Truth: According to Snopes’ research, this collage of Derek Chauvin and a man wearing a “Make Whites Great Again” cap is false. The man wearing the cap is actually Jonathan Lee Riches, a Trump supporter that already went to prison and has a solid reputation of trolling people online. According to AP, Riches confirmed he is the man in the photo, but said the image was manipulated and that he was wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat.

Zoo animals didn’t escape during George Floyd protests

Claim: Wild animals escaped from local zoos during George Floyd protests.

Facts: The first claim shared on social media was that a tiger had escaped from a zoo in Oakland, California. Even the Alameda County Sheriff’s official Twitter account alerted locals about “a Tiger on the loose near the Oakland Zoo.” Another similar claim was shared about a hippopotamus that supposedly escaped from the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago. Following these rumors, a third one appeared about a giraffe spotted running down a road in Minnesota.

Truth: All these claims were proven wrong. Alameda County Sheriff's Twitter account later disclaimed the first post and said that Oakland Zoo checked and confirmed that none of its tigers escaped. The hippopotamus’ image was actually a photograph of a hippo escaping a traveling circus in Spain in 2016, as Snopes reports.

Finally, the giraffe’s post was showing a picture and a screenshot of a video that, also according to Snopes, have been on the internet since at least 2013.

Trump did not tweet that Floyd’s family were honored to hear from him

Claim: A tweet from Donald Trump states that George Floyd’s family was “honored” to hear from him.

Facts: Facebook users are circulating an image of a tweet purportedly sent from Trump’s official account on May 29, stating: “I spoke with George Floyd’s family. There voices told me they were honored to hear from me. I told them that I don't want to see another black man die by a knee to the neck.

It looked to painful. There's better ways to die. No way is good, but that was very bad.”

Truth: According to Reuters Fact Check, the tweet is not legitimate, not appearing on Trump’s timeline on May 29, nor in Twitter searches for posts with this wording. Politwoops, a project that keeps record of all deleted tweets from politicians, said that the tweet has also not been deleted from Trump’s page.

George Soros didn’t fund the protests spiked on social media over the past week nor did he pay people to become “professional anarchist”

Claim: George Soros’ foundations and Thurston County Democrats hire “professional anarchists” paying 200 dollars per direct action.

Fact: An image of a flyer for recruiting “professional anarchists” for 200 dollars has been spreading on social media.

It includes the representation of a famous piece of art of Banksy, the logo of Open Society Foundations, the text “Funded by George Soros” and the contact of Thurston County Democrats, settled in the state of Washington. The flyer claims that every applicant would gain 200 dollars per “direct action”. However, this flyer and the claim are false.

Truth: The flyer in the photographs reads: “Get paid to be a… Professional Anarchist! Get paid up to $200/Direct Action! Remember, Direct Action Gets The Goods. Contact your local Open Society Foundation Branch.”. The chair of the Thurston County Democrats, Victor Minjares, denied all the claims in a post on Facebook, writing in capital letters: “THESE IMAGES ARE FAKED TO DISCREDIT DEMOCRATS.”.

Open Society Foundations also commented on Twitter: “We do not pay protesters. Neither does our founder George Soros.”.

The Antifa have not been leading the riots related to Floyd’s death

Claim: In the last days, the theory that antifa activists are leading the riots related to the murder of George Floyd spread on social media, collecting over 1.3 million likes and shares, according to The New York Times.

Fact: On Sunday, May 31, the president of the United States Donald Trump tweeted that “ANTIFA led anarchists” and “radical left anarchists” are involved in riots. The very day after, the conservative commentator Dan Bongino, on the “Fox and Friends” television show, claimed antifa were responsible for a “sophisticated” attack on the White House, referring to it as an “insurrection”.

Truth: There is no evidence about an “antifa conspiracy.” Also, on social media, this theory is often related to a fake “manual” specifying “riot orders”, that was supposedly issued by Democrats directing antifa activists. However, it was already labeled as “fake” in the 2015 riots, when it first appeared in relation to the death of Freddie Gray in Baltimore.

George Floyd’s death has not been staged and Derek Chauvin is not an actor

Claim: On social media, rumors about George Floyd staged death have been circulating. A video claims Floyd was never killed and that Derek Chauvin -- the Minnesota police officer who was charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in Floyd’s death -- was an actor.

Fact: On Friday, May 29, the YouTube conspiracy channel JonXArmy shared a video claiming that George Floyd’s death was staged. The video was shared nearly 100 times on Facebook, reaching 1.3 million people. On Twitter, over the past week, users shared hundreds of times tweets claiming that “George Floyd is not dead.”

Truth: Geroge Floyd was killed by police on May 25, 2020.

Derek Chauvin, the agent who was kneeling on Floyd’s neck, was fired and charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. Three other officers were charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder. YouTube removed the video posted by JonXArmy, citing its policy on hate speech.

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