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Viral Post Uses Altered Audio of Interview with Greta Thunberg

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Quick Take

Greta Thunberg recalled in a 2022 BBC interview how she began her environmental activism. But a recent video shared on social media deceptively alters the audio from that interview, making it appear that Thunberg called for the use of eco-friendly military weapons and “vegan grenades.” The altered video originated on a site that labeled it as satire.

Full Story

The 20-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg has often been the subject of online misinformation, as we’ve written before. Now, amid the wars in the Middle East and Ukraine, Thunberg has once again become a target with fabricated quotes attributed to her.

A viral video, shared on Instagram by conservative comedian Terrence K. Williams on Oct. 24, purports to show Thunberg advocating for the use of “sustainable tanks and weaponry” in armed conflicts. The post by Williams, a frequent spreader of misinformation, received more than 17,000 likes.

In the video, Thunberg appears to be saying, “There are so many new concepts for battery-powered fighter jets that can carry many more missiles — biodegradable missiles, of course.” She is also heard saying: “If you use hand grenades, please use vegan grenades. No animal should have to give their life for all this mayhem and chaos.” The video ends with Thunberg promoting a new book, “Vegan War.”

Most of those commenting on the post believed the video to be real. One user wrote, “Vegan grenades??? Battery powered jets??? What is she smoking?”

But the audio on the video isn’t real. As fact checkers at India Today found, the video was originally posted to social media by Snicklink, a self-described “conspiracy comedian.”

In its post, Snicklink tagged the video as satire in the lower right corner of the video, as seen in this post shared by another user on Instagram. In Williams’ post, however, the satire label is cut off.

The video was made by replacing the audio track on an existing video of Thunberg — in this case, her 2022 appearance on the BBC. Deepfake technology was then used to sync the movement of her lips to a fabricated audio track.

In the real clip from her BBC interview, Thunberg discussed how she became an environmental activist: “I started with turning off the lights at home to save energy, and that led to another thing, which led to another thing, and eventually I stopped flying. … I became vegan and so-on. And then I got my parents to do that, too.”

Thunberg did promote her new book in the BBC interview, but its title is “The Climate Book,” not “Vegan War.”

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. Facebook has no control over our editorial content.


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