Hey readers! Andrew here. Welcome to the Monday edition of Internet Insider.
Hope you had a great weekend! I went and saw The Batman, and really enjoyed it. If you also saw it, be sure to check out Gavia’s report on an Easter egg that could hint about where the franchise is going in the future.
Meanwhile, Mikael has his weekly “One Dumb Conspiracy” column down below. Today, he gives you the run down on how Joe Rogan shared a fake CNN tweet that said Steve Seagal embedded himself among “Russian special forces” in Ukraine.
Yeah, I know there’s a lot going on in that sentence. Let Mikael explain it all out.
Thanks for reading along. Now let’s jump right into the news.
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BREAK THE INTERNET
Spoiler Alert: The Batman is officially out for general audiences, which means all of the analysis, theories, and more are about to flood the internet. If you’ve had the chance to see the highly-anticipated move, we dive deep into a big Easter egg that lays the groundwork for a sequel. Check out our coverage here.
Truth Social: We’ve touched on the numerous issues that Truth Social, former President Trump’s social media app, has had since launching. But besides the fumbles out of the gate, the app is now losing popularity. The app was Apple’s top free app following its launch in late February, but has since fallen below apps for “Catholic meditation” and an app to help children with their homework.
‘Pickup only in person from Ukraine’: Late last week, eBay postings claiming to be selling Russian tanks commandeered by Ukrainian forces were making their way across social media. But Claire, our politics reporter, notes that those postings don’t appear to be legitimate—and some are toys. Check out her deep dive into the postings here.
ONE DUMB CONSPIRACY
Don’t be like Joe Rogan and get fooled by this fake CNN tweet showing Steven Seagal invading Ukraine
The fake tweet, which exploded across social media in the wake of Russia’s invasion, purported that Seagal had embedded himself among “Russian special forces.”
“Intelligence agencies around the world have spotted American actor Steven Seagal among Russian special forces positioned around the outskirts of Gostomel airfield near Kyiv captured by Russian airborne troops,” the fake tweet stated.
One of the biggest promoters of the fake tweet was none other than Rogan, the popular podcaster, who shared the screenshot to his nearly 15 million followers.
“If I had to guess the plot of this fucked up movie we’re living through I would say we are about 14 hours from the arrival of aliens,” Rogan quipped.
It’s not entirely surprising that so many initially believed the claim was true.
Seagal has repeatedly met with and praised Russian President Vladimir Putin. In fact, Seagal was actually banned from Ukraine for five years in 2017 after being granted both citizenship and a Russian passport by Putin.
But a quick glance at CNN’s Twitter account by Rogan and others would have quickly shown that no such tweet actually existed.
Not to mention, the image used in the fake tweet, according to Newsweek, is not from a warzone but from a 2017 film Seagal starred in called Cartels.
A representative for Seagal also denied to Newsweek that the actor was in any way involved with the military conflict.
Rogan eventually caught on and deleted his initial Instagram post. In a follow-up, Rogan admitted that he had been fooled by the fake tweet.
“I deleted my earlier post about Steven Seagal being in Ukraine because it was parody, which isn’t surprising, but honestly it wouldn’t be surprising if it was true either,” Rogan wrote. “He was banned from Ukraine in 2017 because he was labeled as a national security threat. I, like all of you, hope the tragic situation is resolved there quickly.”
Although the conspiracy theory about Seagal invading Ukraine is false, Seagal himself has spread conspiracy theories of his own regarding Russia’s invasion.
In a statement to Fox News Digital late last month, Seagal appeared to suggest that the invasion was not the fault of Russia but outside countries attempting to stir up division.
“Most of us have friends and family in Russia & Ukraine,” Seagal said. “I look at both as one family and really believe it is an outside entity spending huge sums of money on propaganda to provoke the two countries to be at odds with each other.”
In reality, Ukraine is a sovereign country that wishes to remain so. Putin on the other hand wants Ukraine to be subservient to Moscow.
It is unlikely that Seagal, who is now 69-years-old, will be fighting in any combat zones in the near future.
The incident once again highlights the importance of fact-checking amid the invasion, which has seen an onslaught of false claims and propaganda spread online.
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BEFORE YOU GO
Texas. Gov. Greg Abbott (R) was met with immediate shock and backlash after he called for parents of transgender children to be investigated by child protective services. One protest against it happened last week, with a viral video showing Texas students shouting down a local GOP candidate by saying “fuck these fascists.”
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