No excuses: How a fake Trump tweet turned viral

Hoax: A 'Donald Trump tweet from 2015' has gone viral in minutes after a screenshot was posted online. But it was a fabrication

Gulf News Web Report
12:04 February 6, 2018
Dow Joans

Not all of US President Donald Trump's tweets hog headlines or become viral. Sometimes, it's done by a gag a tweep made in his name.

And that's what happened to a tweet purportedly sent out by the leader of the world's most powerful nation, which had gone viral within minutes.

But it was, in fact, a boax.

Twitter user Shaun Usher, who owns a blog called “Letters of Note”, digitally manipulated a Twitter post to make it look like a Donald Trump tweet after Dow Jones, a measure of US stock market performance, hit its largest single-day drop (it dropped by 1,175.21 (4.60 per cent)) on Monday.

The tweet, which Usher dated February 2015, appears to show the US President stating that any US leader presiding over such a huge drop should be “loaded into a very big cannon” and “shot into the sun at tremendous speed! No excuses”.

Usher’s fabrication had all the hallmarks of the US President’s style: an eccentric statement, misspelled words and exclamation marks used in succession.

It was quite similar to the much-talked about Twitter tirade against North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and against the US media sent out on January 3.

It’s possible that the tweet’s lack of authenticity made it look even more credible: the misspelled “Dow Joans” for example and bewildering use of capital letters and exclamation marks — may have made people believe it more.

Americans and the world have come to accept typos from Trump’s spontaneous Twitter tirades (remember “covfefe”).

Within two minutes, it went went viral, getting 7,000 retweets. Some 15 minutes and thousands of retweets later, Usher decided to clarify that the tweet had been made up.

Snopes, a prominent online fact-checking website, contacted Usher and debunked the article.



“Naively thought it too ridiculous to be believable,” he told the site in a message. “Says a lot, really. Was going to delete it but it was everywhere within minutes — feels like I need to leave it up in its place of birth,” he tweeted.

So what's the takeway from this episode? Don't believe everything you see on the internet.