a katz/Shutterstock @BruceLesley/Twitter (Licensed) Remix by Jason Reed

It’s not shady, even if it seems that way.

A tweet that tied Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) to Cambridge Analytica during last night’s debate between the Republican senator and Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas) went viral, but it’s completely inaccurate.

In the tweet, Bruce Lesley, president of a D.C. based advocacy group, said “Cambridge Analytica is working hard tonight,” pointing out a string of identical tweets that endorsed Cruz.

That tweet soon racked up 7,000 faves, going viral in the middle of the debate. The only problem: The behavior Lesley was pointing out has nothing to do with Cambridge Analytica.

The data firm became a boogeyman when it was revealed it harvested Facebook data and used that infrormation to help President Donald Trump target voters in the 2016 election. Cruz also had an association with Cambridge Analytica in the 2016 primaries and was using its data to help build voter profiles.

However, Cambridge Analytica went under long ago, after a string of stories exposing its improper use of data. And the identical tweets being pushed out during the debate were not from a data firm but from a template.

Lesley may have been joking—he did not respond to a request for comment—but the virality of his tweet is evidence of how fast misinformation can fly around the web. People picked up and ran with Lesley’s assertion. It even got shared by a host from Pod Save America.

Others then jumped on.

Anyone can use a click-to-tweet function, and while it’s possible some of them are bots and paid, the tweets have nothing to do with the boogeyman of Facebook data.

David Covucci

David Covucci

David Covucci is the Layer 8 editor at the Daily Dot, covering the intersection of politics and the web. His work has appeared in Vice, the Huffington Post, Jezebel, Gothamist, and other publications. He is particularly interested in hearing any tips you have. Reach out at [email protected]