There is a hoax going around that financier George Soros was arrested in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. However, it’s not true. Soros was not arrested.
The person who made the hoax even went so far as to present a falsified “indictment.” But it’s a faked version of a real indictment charging Russian hackers.
“There is a nonsense claim that George Soros has been arrested for ‘election interference’, accompanied by a screenshot of a supposed indictment. Error level analysis of the image shows where someone has gone in (in Paint?) and erased the real name and typed in Soros’s name,” wrote freelance journalist Elise Thomas.
There is a nonsense claim that George Soros has been arrested for 'election interference', accompanied by a screenshot of a supposed indictment. Error level analysis of the image shows where someone has gone in (in Paint?) and erased the real name and typed in Soros's name. pic.twitter.com/MBS2MLfemH
— Elise Thomas (@elisethoma5) November 23, 2020
The story was also debunked by the fact-checking site Snopes, which reported that it derived from the “junk news site Your News Wire,” which was previously called News Punch.
Here’s what you need to know:
The story Falsely Claimed Soros Was Being Held in Federal Custody in Philadelphia Relating to the Presidential Election
The Your News Wire site falsely reported that George Soros “has been arrested and is currently being held in federal custody in Philadelphia. According to a recently unsealed indictment filed in the Western District of Pennsylvania, Soros has been charged with a number of serious crimes relating to the US election.”
You can see the fake indictment above. Again, it’s not real.
The story even goes so far as to quote a supposed reporter and tie it all into other unproven conspiracy theories about the U.S. presidential election. Here’s an archived version of the fake story.
Soros, of course, is a common target of the right due to his philanthropy supporting liberal causes.
Your News Wire has pushed out fake news on the election before. “Before the election, Yournewswire.com published a story saying First Lady Michelle Obama had unfollowed Clinton on Twitter. A quick check of Twitter proved the story false,” CBS News reported.
Poynter reported that Yournewswire “is one of the most popular fake news publishers in the world. The website, run by two men in Los Angeles, regularly pumps out hoaxes and conspiracy theories.” It had been debunked at least 80 times – by 2018. According to Mashable, the site simply rebranded once criticism first erupted.
The Indictment Was Faked From a Real Indictment Involving Russian Hackers, But the False ‘News’ Was Widely Shared on Social Media, Sparking Google Search Trends in Soros’s Name
According to Snopes, the fake indictment was altered from a real indictment of Russian hackers. You can see the real indictment here.
Despite the fact the story was fake, Google search trends for the term “George Soros” spiked in the U.S. as the fake claim circulated on social media.
The fact the story was clearly fake didn’t stop some conservative sites from trumpeting it around the internet, where they clearly didn’t make an attempt to do any fact verification before simply repeating what they found on the fake site. “George Soros ARRESTED for election interference, in federal custody,” read one such false headline on a conservative site.
As the false news spread around Twitter, one person wrote, “Apparently, some super conservative sites are claiming that George Soros has been arrested. Sounds like some truly unbelievable shit, but who knows? It’s 2020, right?”
It has been a surprising year. But, again, this story simply isn’t true. A search of the keyword “George Soros” on Twitter turned up a flood of pages repeating the false story.
READ NEXT: What Is Kamala Harris’ Ethnicity?