Conspiracy theorists online are accusing Hollywood actor Tom Hanks of secretly deleting three years’ worth of tweets.
The claim, which circulated across Twitter over the weekend, was shared by countless accounts, including that of former adult film star-turned-conservative activist Jenna Jameson.
“Tom Hanks just deleted 3 years worth of tweets in the last hour,” Jameson tweeted on Saturday.
Hanks has become a primary target of conspiracy theorists aligned with the QAnon movement, which believes that secret government insiders are working alongside President Donald Trump to bring down a child-eating pedophile ring run by Democrat politicians and Hollywood liberals.
Conspiracy theorists’ obsession with Hanks began earlier this year after right-wing journalist Liz Crokin claimed that symbolism in the actor’s performances were evidence of his involvement with pedophilia.
But did Hanks actually delete three years worth of tweets?
Many Twitter users pointed to claims that the last available tweet on Hanks’ account was from July 2017.
An examination of Hanks’ account, however, shows that the actor’s last tweet is from May of this year and that the allegedly deleted tweets from 3 years prior remain online as well.
What users are reporting appears to be a glitch. The Daily Dot examined Hanks’ account on two separate Twitter accounts. When looking at his profile from one account, the Daily Dot found that the latest tweet appears to be from 2017. However, when looking under his “tweets & replies” tab, the earliest is from May of 2020, and no tweets appear to be deleted. When looking at his profile from the other account, all of Hanks’ tweets appear normally under the main “tweets” tab of his profile.
The Daily Dot reached out to Twitter to inquire about the apparent glitch but did not receive a reply by press time.
Analysis by the Daily Dot of Hanks’ account on the Internet Archive indicates that no tweets were missing on Saturday either.
The Daily Dot also questioned Jameson, whose claim about Hanks’ received nearly 14,000 retweets, but did not receive a response either.
Despite the entire claim being debunked by doing a bit of digging through Hanks’ page, conspiracy theorists have already begun building upon the false rumor.
A popular facet of the QAnon conspiracy is the impending mass-arrest of celebrity figures, none of which have ever actually taken place.
The fiasco involving Hanks has already led some to claim that the non-existent missing tweets are proof of a government investigation into a pedophilia ring involving the actor.
The incident highlights just how easily conspiracy theories can flourish online.
Update 11:48am CT, Sept. 14: Twitter confirmed to the Daily Dot that an issue on the platform made it appear to some users that tweets were missing, although they were still visible under the “Tweets & replies” tab. The issue has since been fixed.