Here's A Running List Of False And Unverified Information About The Killing Of Qassem Soleimani
Many accounts are spreading false or unconfirmed information, including the claim that Eric Trump knew of the airstrike in advance.
After a US military airstrike killed Qassem Soleimani, a top Iranian general, early Friday, people began spreading false and unverified information on social media. The misinformation spread across private messaging apps, as well as public platforms like Twitter.
BuzzFeed News has compiled a running list of falsehoods and unverified information following the killing.
1. This tweet does not prove that Eric Trump was aware of the strike in advance.
An image of a deleted Eric Trump tweet from Dec. 31 — in which he said "Bout to open up a big ol' can of whoop ass" — caused many to speculate that the president's son was aware of the plan to strike against Soleimani. However, the tweet was taken out of context and did not refer to the operation.
An archive of the tweet shows Trump was quote-tweeting a video of the US Marines arriving in Baghdad to protect the US Embassy, which was recently attacked. Adding to the confusion was a version of the tweet saved by PolitiTweet, which removed the URL that Eric Trump was quoting. PolitiTweet has since updated the way it archives tweets to include quote-tweet links.
2. Unverified images purporting to be of Soleimani's hand spread across chat apps and social media.
The photo first started circulating on Telegram and WhatsApp immediately after Soleimani's death. It then moved to Facebook and Twitter, where it kept picking up steam.
The photograph has not been confirmed by authorities and remains unverified. However, an analysis of other images at the scene suggests that the severed hand in the photo may have belonged to Soleimani. Either way, we will monitor for updates and confirmation. (Warning: There are graphic images in the linked Twitter thread below.)
3. US Marines did not arrest any members of Iraq's Parliament. The account that made the claim later acknowledged it was incorrect.
After news of the killing broke, an account tweeted an unverified report claiming that US Marines were arresting members of the Iraqi Parliament. There were no official reports of this, and the account later said the information was false.
4. Accounts on Instagram appear to be coordinating the spread of an anti-US meme.
In an early and small example of coordinated activity, at least four Instagram accounts simultaneously spread memes of coffins draped in US flags with the text "Prepare your coffins." The images were tagged with the White House as their location. The four accounts also tweeted a video of Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader of Iran.
5. This is not a video of the drone strike that killed Soleimani. This video is from at least 2017.
A version of this video was posted in 2017, meaning it has nothing to do with the Soleimani killing. The video itself is also of an attack helicopter, not a drone.
6. This video is also not of the drone strike that killed Soleimani. It's from a 2014 iOS game called AC-130 Gunship Simulator: Special Ops Squadron.
The video has been used by anonymous accounts before, which claimed it showed an ISIS strike in 2017.
7. Images of this pro-Trump graffiti have been online prior to Soleimani's killing, according to BBC Monitoring correspondent Shayan Sardarizadeh.
8. Republican Rep. Paul Gosar tweeted a photoshopped image of Obama and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. Gosar's tweet also falsely implied that Rouhani is no longer in power.
The original image was of then-president Barack Obama and Manmohan Singh, the former prime minister of India, according to BuzzFeed News reporting in 2015. A reverse image search of the fake photo shows it has been circulating on fringe blogs since at least 2013, but Obama and Rouhani have never been photographed shaking hands.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates and follow BuzzFeed News on Twitter.
Manmohan Singh was misidentified in a previous version of this story.