Volodymyr Zelenskyy speaking in front of red background (l) Elon Musk speaking in front of dark background (c) Tucker Carlson speaking in front of blurry brown background (r)

paparazzza/Shutterstock Real Time with Bill Maher/YouTube The Telegraph/YouTube (Licensed) Remix by Caterina Cox

Conspiracy theorists think Ukraine demanded that Elon Musk delete Tucker Carlson’s Twitter

Ukraine has made no such demand.

 

Mikael Thalen

Tech

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.

Claims are circulating across social media that the Ukrainian government has ordered Elon Musk to delete former Fox News anchor Tucker Carlson’s Twitter account. But Ukraine has made no such demand.

The conspiracy theory appeared in a tweet on Thursday from the user known as Sprinter, who regularly shares disinformation with their 201,000 followers.

“Ukraine has given Elon Musk 72 hours to delete Tucker Carlson’s Twitter account,” the account wrote.

Sprinter then went on to highlight a quote that supposedly was made by the office of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

“If this requirement is not met, the consequences will be the most severe, both for the social network Twitter itself and personally for Mr. Musk,” the statement supposedly said.

The tweet, which has been shared nearly 5,000 times, was made shortly after Carlson aired his first show on Twitter following his recent departure from Fox News. During the show, Carlson continued his regular criticism of Ukraine as the country remains engaged with Russia’s invasion and bombardment.

Countless conspiracy theorists immediately appeared to believe the claims, while others even called on Musk to stop supporting the war-torn nation through its use of Starlink satellites.

“I hope this is some joke, but if it’s not, that is a threat,” one user said. “@elonmusk I think Starlink needs to go offline for a while for a ‘security’ update.”

But where did the claim originally come from? A glance at the official website for the Zelenskyy government shows that no such statement was issued. Zelenskyy’s social media channels are also missing the alleged statement. No news reports about such a statement have been written either.

The alleged quote from Zelenskyy’s office can be traced back to a Russian Telegram channel known for spreading satire. The account even states in Russian in its bio that it promotes both “satire” and “parody.”

Despite the viral attention on the tweet, evidence shows that Zelenskyy never made such remarks.

Why it matters

With Twitter’s new algorithm seemingly amplifying false information, users like Sprinter have grown in prominence among conspiracy theorists.

As is always the case, users should make sure to check for sources when any such claims are made. While Twitter’s Community Notes feature is often used to debunk such conspiracy theories, many tweets continue to fly under the radar.

 
The Daily Dot