An old tweet from an account impersonating Rep. Rashida Tlaib resurfaced on social media — this time with an erroneous claim that the tweet was her response to the recent attack on the U.S. embassy in Baghdad.
Rep. Rashida Tlaib, a Palestinian-American from Michigan, has been a frequent target of online misinformation since becoming one of the first two Muslim women elected to Congress in 2018.
In early 2019, a tweet from an unverified user posing as Tlaib posted anti-American remarks. That tweet was exposed as a fake at the time. But now that same made-up tweet has resurfaced on Twitter and Facebook in connection with the recent conflict between the U.S. and Iran.
The hoax tweet reads: “Americans have spent decades raping and pillaging my people. What goes around comes around. #FridayFeeling.”
But, as many outlets wrote in January 2019, that message was not from Tlaib’s account but from a since-deleted Twitter account made to resemble it. The fake Twitter account was not verified (unlike Tlaib’s verified personal and congressional accounts) and its handle — @RashidaTIaib — used a capital “i” rather than an “l” in “Tlaib.”
The latest viral meme shows a screenshot of another Twitter user sharing the fake Tlaib tweet and calling the congresswoman “anti-american” and someone “who should not be in office.” (That user later apologized upon learning the Tlaib tweet was bogus.)
The meme also adds the caption: “This was her comment on the Protesters Siege of the U.S. Embassy in Iraqi.”
As we said, Tlaib didn’t make those comments in a tweet — let alone in response to an attack on the U.S. embassy in Baghdad, in which protesters set fire to a reception building. The Dec. 31 attack was part of escalating aggression between the U.S. and Iran that further deepened after the U.S. killed Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani on Jan. 2 with an airstrike in Baghdad.
Tlaib has used Twitter to speak out against a potential war with Iran, calling it “yet another unnecessary war that puts innocent lives at risk at home.”
Addressing the spread of the fake tweet, Tlaib wrote on Jan. 6 that such falsehoods “endanger my life.” And she reminded users to verify that tweets purportedly from her are actually hers:
Quick public servant announcement: If there isn't a checkmark next to my name on the tweet then it's fake!
To all the foreign countries & reckless commentators out there spreading lies about me: Try to focus on disagreeing with me with facts, instead of making up shit. pic.twitter.com/DPxdZSEKP0
— Rashida Tlaib (@RashidaTlaib) January 6, 2020
Editor’s note: FactCheck.org is one of several organizations working with Facebook to debunk misinformation shared on social media. Our previous stories can be found here.
Moore, Elena and Roberta Rampton. “Timeline: How The U.S. Came To Strike And Kill A Top Iranian General.” NPR. 4 Jan 2020.
“Remarks by President Trump on the Killing of Qasem Soleimani.” White House. 3 Jan 2020.
Tlaib, Rashida (@RashidaTlaib). “Quick public servant announcement: If there isn’t a checkmark next to my name on the tweet then it’s fake! To all the foreign countries & reckless commentators out there spreading lies about me: Try to focus on disagreeing with me with facts, instead of making up shit.” Twitter. 6 Jan 2020.
Tlaib, Rashida (@RashidaTlaib). “We cannot stay silent as this lawless President recklessly moves us closer to yet another unnecessary war that puts innocent lives at risk at home & across the globe. Congress alone has the authority to declare war, & we must reclaim our responsibility & say no to war with Iran.” Twitter. 3 Jan 2020.