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As the Dow Jones plunged Feb. 5, not long after President Donald Trump boasted about the stock market gains, a fake Trump tweet surfaced in which he vowed that such a drop in the "Dow Joans" should result in the president being shot out of a cannon into the sun.
Though it was a hoax, that didn’t stop the Twitterverse from going nuts over it.
At 4:38 p.m. Feb. 15, Shaun Usher, who lives in Manchester, England and author of the Letters of Note website, wrote on Twitter:
"There’s *always* a tweet," and then linked to a supposed Trump tweet from Feb. 15, 2015:
"If the Dow Joans ever falls more than 1000 ‘points’ in a Single Day the sitting president should be 'loaded' into a very big cannon and Shot into the sun at TREMENDOUS SPEED! No excuses!"
The tweet took off, and within 19 hours drew more than 22,000 retweets and 47,000 likes.
Minutes later, Usher followed up by making it clear the tweet was a hoax:
"Sweet mother of god. Not for one second did I think people would believe that to be genuine."
"omg it's everywhere. What have I done."
"siri can i be arrested for making a fake tweet."
Some users on Twitter called on Usher to delete the tweet. He replied:
"Many people asking why I haven't taken it down. Literally within minutes of me posting it, it had legs. It was everywhere within about 10mins. I had lost control of it in an instant. Deleting mine--its place of birth--felt wrong & maybe more dangerous?"
Many in the Twitterverse seemed to realize it was a hoax and enjoyed the joke:
"You just gained a follower. Me. Thanks for the laugh."
"Does this mean he's NOT getting shot out of a cannon??" tweeted another with a sad face emoji.
"We will build a sun cannon, and we will have the sun people pay for it," one tweeted, a reference to Trump’s plan to build a wall at the border of Mexico and make Mexico pay for it.
Some in the twitterverse adopted an investigative tone and noted that the alleged Trump tweet had more than 140 characters, which wasn’t possible in 2015.
Another took a scientific approach:
"Important question: would one want said president to make it to the sun, or simply impart the amount of inertia required to get something of their mass to the sun? One is much more complex the other and could create many jobs," linking to a diagram and math formula for shooting Trump to the sun.
Some on Twitter appeared to fall for the hoax:
"OMG, did the dumb SOB really spell it ‘Joans’?"
"Is this real?"
"Oops. I fell for it."
It wasn’t a surprise that someone poked fun at Trump for the stock market drop after Trump had repeatedly touted gains in the stock market.
On Jan. 5, Trump tweeted that the Dow Jones Industrial Average "jumped 1000 points in last 5 weeks, Record fastest 1000 point move in history." We rated that statement True, though no president can take full credit for the economy.
Usher has been critical of Trump in the past. Hours before Usher posted the fake tweet, he bashed Trump over his criticism of the UK health care system. In January, Usher called Trump the "dumbest sack of meat" in response to his comments about climate change.
We attempted to reach Usher but did not hear back. The White House declined to comment.
We rate this fake tweet Pants on Fire.
Shaun Usher, Twitter, Feb. 5, 2018
Shaunusher.com, Accessed Feb. 6, 2018
CNN Money, "Dow plunges 1,175 -- worst point decline in history," Feb. 5, 2018
Yahoo News UK, "Fake Donald Trump stock market tweet goes viral after British man's joke backfires," Feb. 6, 2018
PolitiFact, "Donald Trump says of course Mexico can pay for wall -- because of the trade deficit," Jan. 26, 2016
PolitiFact, "Is Donald Trump right that the Dow Jones just had its fastest-ever 1,000-point jump?" Jan. 8, 2018
PolitiFact, "PolitiFact previews Donald Trump's State of the Union address," Jan. 29, 2018
PolitiFact, "How high are economic confidence polls under Donald Trump?" Feb. 2, 2018
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