Facebook to remove false claims about who started Oregon wildfires

WION Web Team New York, New York, United States of America Sep 13, 2020, 03.18 PM(IST) Sep 13, 2020, 03.29 PM(IST)

Oregon wildfires Photograph:( Reuters )

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Law enforcement agencies have been flooded with calls about online rumours that members of Antifa, an anti-fascist, often far-left-wing movement, were arrested for setting fires across the state. FBI Portland, however, says the reports are untrue.

Facebook has said it would step in to tackle the false claims that have been doing the rounds on the social media regarding who is reponsible for the Oregon wildfires.

Law enforcement agencies have been flooded with calls about online rumours that members of Antifa, an anti-fascist, often far-left-wing movement, were arrested for setting fires across the state.

FBI Portland, however, says the reports are untrue.

To this end, Facebook spokesman Andy Stone said the platform would work to remove the rumours.

"This is consistent with our past efforts to remove content that could lead to imminent harm given the possible risk to human life as the fires rage on," Stone said about the decision.

Also read | Oregon wildfires are not intentional, no role of 'extremists': FBI

The claims that Antifa set the fires started when the anonymous account behind QAnon posted a link to a tweet by Paul Joseph Romero Jr., a former Republican US Senate candidate from Oregon, claiming the Douglas County Sheriff's Office had six Antifa "arsonists" in custody.

It took hours for the rumors to be amplified by QAnon's followers.

Romero said he did not plan to remove the tweet.

The Douglas County Sheriff's Office is urging people to follow official sources of information and local reputable news outlets.

In a Facebook post, the office pleaded: "Do your part, STOP. SPREADING. RUMORS!"

At least eight people have died in the fires that have ravaged more than 875,000 acres across the state.

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