Here’s The Unverified And False Information Spreading About The Killing Of Iran’s Qassem Soleimani


Many are spreading false or unconfirmed information, including the claim that Eric Trump knew of the airstrike in advance.

Posted on January 3, 2020, at 12:55 p.m. ET


Atta Kenare / Getty Images

After a US military air strike killed top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani 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.

I’m monitoring the situation in Baghdad. There is going to be a lot of unverified and bad information shared, particularly on WhatsApp. If you’re in a group that’s being flooded with info, please DM or email me: jane.lytvynenko@buzzfeed.com

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 — which 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 is taken out of context and does 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 Eric Trump was quoting.

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 verified by authorities and remains unverified. However, an analysis of other images at the scene suggest that the severed hand in the photo may have belonged to Soleimani. We will monitor for updates and confirmation either way. (Warning: There are graphic images in the linked Twitter thread below.)

So what do we know so far?

– Soleimani is dead as confirmed by multiple governments and sources
– We have a corpse we can 100% confirm is at the scene and appears to be wearing a blue jacket
– Appears corpse has no arms
– Arm blew off from corpse, appears to wear navy jacket

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 Iraq 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.

Information warfare has already started. On Instagram there’s coordinated activity, tagging @WhiteHouse with message “prepare the coffins” #WWIII

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.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates and follow BuzzFeed News on Twitter.





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