One Dumb Conspiracy is a weekly column that debunks the mostly wild conspiracy theories swirling around the web and runs on Mondays in the Daily Dot’s web_crawlr newsletter. If you want to get this column a day before we publish it, subscribe to web_crawlr, where you’ll get the daily scoop of internet culture delivered straight to your inbox.
Some conservatives are stoking fears over the belief that the federal government has decided to target opponents of President Joe Biden for investigation and prosecution.
But the claims are entirely fabricated.
A screenshot of an alleged news article that has been circulating across social media has claimed that the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has opened an investigation into the origins of the “F*ck Joe Biden” chant.
The chant, which also has a sanitized version phrased as “Let’s Go Brandon,” became popular in 2021 and has been heard shouted by conservatives at sports venues, concerts, and other public events.
The purported news article making its rounds on the internet boldly asserts that the DOJ has opted to go after people who have used the chant.
“Merrick Garland Announces DOJ Will Investigate People Chanting F Biden,” the headline reads.
The claim stirred outrage among conservatives who argued that such a move clearly violated their rights to free speech.
“We are living in a communist country,” one user on Facebook wrote.
Despite the screenshot not showing which media outlet it had been published on and listing the author merely as “DOGFACEPONIA,” more and more users expressed alarm.
“Protected speech under attack,” another user wrote.
One post regarding the claim received nearly 2,900 shares on Twitter, where users similarly pushed back on the Biden administration.
Incredibly, very few users even seemed to question the outrageous claims being made.
It turns out the article was originally published on a blog bearing the same name as the author, DOGFACEPONIA.
A tagline on the website reads: “It’s Not Fake News, It’s Fairy Tale News.”
A quick glance at the website’s “About Us” page also clearly notes that the content is not to be taken seriously.
“DogFacePonia.com is a SATIRE site. We frequently make references to well known stories and characters taken from popular culture, fairy tales, politics and other fiction,” the page states. “It is not intended to be taken seriously. If you believe what you read here then I have a unicorn horn to sell for $1 million.”
Clearly, many of the conservatives online sharing the article did not get the message. Nevertheless, countless opponents of Biden seem convinced that the DOJ may soon come knocking.
Why it matters
Despite being well into the age of viral online misinformation, simple fact-checking is still ignored as long as some people see and hear what they want to be true.
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