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German Conservatives Created A Fake Tweet From Merkel's Key Opponent

A political youth organization for conservative German parties faked a tweet from Merkel's socialist opponent.

Posted on July 12, 2017, at 1:20 p.m. ET

The Young Union of Bavaria, a political youth organization for conservative German parties, posted an image of a fake tweet from socialist politician Martin Schulz on its Facebook page.

Schulz is the leader of the Social Democratic Party. He heads the opposition and is widely seen as Angela Merkel's main competitor in the upcoming September elections.
Sean Gallup / Getty Images

Schulz is the leader of the Social Democratic Party. He heads the opposition and is widely seen as Angela Merkel's main competitor in the upcoming September elections.

The Facebook post included two tweets, one real and one fake. The first tweet appears under the headline, "What Martin Schulz is tweeting." The tweet in the screenshot says, "The pictures from Hamburg are shocking. Riots don’t have anything to do with politics. The offenders have to take responsibility."

The headline over the second, fake tweet says, "What Martin Schulz is up to." The text of the tweet reads, "We don’t think that left extremism is a huge deal. That’s why we want to govern with their advocates after September."The caption posted alongside the image criticized Schultz for the second tweet. "Martin Schulz distanced himself from the left-wing extremism over the weekend in Hamburg, but wants to form a new coalition with the defenders of these madmen in autumn. We must prevent this together!"
Facebook: JUBayern / Via Facebook: JUBayern

The headline over the second, fake tweet says, "What Martin Schulz is up to." The text of the tweet reads, "We don’t think that left extremism is a huge deal. That’s why we want to govern with their advocates after September."

The caption posted alongside the image criticized Schultz for the second tweet. "Martin Schulz distanced himself from the left-wing extremism over the weekend in Hamburg, but wants to form a new coalition with the defenders of these madmen in autumn. We must prevent this together!"

The Young Union of Bavaria created the fake tweet. Schulz never tweeted it, though the layout and design make it look like he did.

Facebook: JUBayern

How can you tell it's fake? What makes the tweets different is the accounts from which they were supposedly posted. The second tweet was posted by "@therealMartinSchulz."

Facebook: JUBayern

But that account doesn't exist.

His real account is @MartinSchulz.
Twitter

His real account is @MartinSchulz.

Both tweets have blue verification marks, which is Twitter's way of authenticating accounts. At first glance, they both look real.

Facebook: JUBayern

The font for the Twitter usernames in the screenshots is too small to read on mobile, so if someone read the post on their phone they likely wouldn't notice the different account names for the tweets.

BuzzFeed / Karsten Schmehl / Facebook

The Young Union admitted to BuzzFeed News that the second tweet was doctored. The organization's managing director, Stephan Ebner, said "the second tweet is clearly an exaggeration."

"It is obvious that the second tweet is not a real quote, as the second tweet has been sent by an account named 'TheRealMartinSchulz,'" he said.
csu.de

"It is obvious that the second tweet is not a real quote, as the second tweet has been sent by an account named 'TheRealMartinSchulz,'" he said.

BuzzFeed News contacted the Social Democratic Party about the tweet, but it declined to comment.

Sascha Schuermann / AFP / Getty Images

Read this post in German.

CORRECTION

Stephan Ebner's name was misspelled in a previous version of this post.

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