As the COVID-19 coronavirus disease spread in March 2020, social media hoaxes raced right along with it.
One such stunt was a fake tweet (displayed above) made to look like it was posted from the official Twitter account of U.S. President Donald Trump. The image suggested the president had blithely warned that relief checks from a COVID-19 stimulus package would only benefit people who had not published overt criticism of him on social media.
Specifically, the hoax tweet read:
Yes, I ordered the Treasury Secretary to send checks to Americans! First however, we will go through your social media history from the last 4 years and search for any post with #NotMyPresident in it. I wouldn't think of offending you with a check if I'm not your president! #MAGA
We found no evidence that Trump authored this tweet. Neither a database dedicated to archiving his posts, nor a database that stores all of his deleted tweets had a record of this post.
Another viral but false quote suggested that Trump said of the COVID-19 pandemic, "People are dying today that have never died before." He did not.
The above-displayed fake tweet was posted as lawmakers discussed a federal stimulus package that may include checks sent directly to Americans as part of an economic stimulus plan.
As countries across the globe have worked to slow the spread of COVID-19, they have implemented various strategies of social distancing and quarantine measures that have resulted in widespread job losses and work-hour reductions.