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The post isn’t legitimate and didn’t come from an authentic Facebook account. It was made using an online generator that creates fake Facebook status updates.
A Facebook spokesperson confirmed that the post isn’t real and said the screenshots will be removed from the platform.
Questions are swirling about Robert Aaron Long, the white gunman charged with killing eight people at three Atlanta area spas on March 16.
Six of those killed were of Asian descent, and many have speculated that the rampage was racially motivated. But as details about the shooting continue to unfold, it appears that some on social media are reaching conclusions based on what looks like a Facebook post made by Long. A screenshot of the post displays Long’s name and reads:
"China is engaged in a COVID coverup. They blocked our investigators from going to their lab in Wuhan and finding the truth about the experiments they were conducting there. If they're innocent, why block? China must be hiding something. They know how the Wuhan virus was created, and killing 500000 Americans was just part of their plan to secure global domination for the 21st century. ALL AMERICANS NEED TO FIGHT BACK AGAINST CHINA, NOW. REPUBLICANS, DEMOCRATS, WE ALL NEED TO STAND AGAINST CHINA, THE GREATEST EVIL OF OUR TIME."
The post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)
This isn’t a legitimate post from Long. While the origins of the screenshot aren’t known, we do know that the post was manufactured using an online tool and didn’t come from an authentic Facebook account.
The first sign that the post is fake is the color of Long’s name in the screenshot. It appears in blue lettering, and while that was the previous style for Facebook profile names, it no longer is. All names are now in black.
Another indicator is the positioning of the profile picture and the reactions graphics. Both are not aligned.
Facebook also told PolitiFact that the screenshot does not show a real post.
"We’ve confirmed that these screenshots are fake and we’re removing them from the platform for violating our policies," company spokesperson Sally Aldous said.
We didn’t find a legitimate Facebook account belonging to Long, but CNN reported that a Facebook spokesperson said the company did remove an Instagram account it believed to be linked to Long.
We rate this post False.
Facebook post, March 17, 2021
Washington Post, Man charged with killing 8 people at Georgia massage parlors, March 17, 2021
Generatestatus.com, Fake Facebook Post Generator, Accessed March 18, 2021
Prankmenot, Facebook Status Generator, Accessed March 18, 2021
Lead Stories, Fact Check: Screenshot Of Post From Atlanta Shooting Suspect Robert Aaron Long Is NOT From A Real Account, March 17, 2021
CNN, What we know about Robert Aaron Long, the suspect in Atlanta spa shootings, March 17, 2021
Email interview, Sally Aldous spokesperson at Facebook, March 18, 2021
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