Fact Check: CDC Did NOT Publish Sponsored Facebook Post Asking For Help With "Escaped" Coronavirus Patient

Fact Check

  • by: Maarten Schenk

STORY UPDATED: check for updates below.

Fact Check: CDC Did NOT Publish Sponsored Facebook Post Asking For Help With "Escaped" Coronavirus Patient

Did the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention run a sponsored Facebook post asking for help locating a man who arrived from Hong Kong, and who refused to go into mandatory quarantine? No, that's not true: the post was published by a Facebook page named "Covid19", which used the official CDC logo. But the page was created only a few days ago, and it has no relation with the official CDC page.

The post in question (archived here and in Facebook's ad library) was apparently published on March 2, 2020. It showed a screenshot of what looks like an earlier sponsored post by a page with the same name that showed a picture of an Asian-looking young man in a car and the text:

Breaking News! Authority is looking for this male in his early 20's localed in
the east bay. He was put in for mandatory quarantine after arrival from Hong
Kong. He refused and has escaped the us base quarantine. We need your
help to flnd him before the spread ofhe deadly virus.

Lead Stories was unable to locate the sponsored post shown in the screenshot and reverse image searching the photo returned no results.

However the page transparency information for the Covid19 Facebook page shows it had been created recently, on March 2, 2020:

covid19page.jpg

The real CDC Facebook page makes no mention of any "wanted" patients on the run. It also doesn't mention anything about mandatory quarantines. It does however show several useful tips for protecting yourself from COVID-19:

Lead Stories has reported the fraudulent page to Facebook via the "Find Support or Report Page" button in the transparency popup that appears if you click "See More" in the Page Transparency sidebar widget:

reported.jpg

We encourage our readers to do the same with any fraudulent pages they spot.

There is a lot of misinformation online about the novel coronavirus. Here are some other fact checks by Lead Stories:

Updates:

  • 2020-03-06T12:01:05Z 2020-03-06T12:01:05Z
    We reported the page to Facebook.

Lead Stories is working with the CoronaVirusFacts/DatosCoronaVirus Alliance, a coalition of more than 100 fact-checkers who are fighting misinformation related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more about the alliance here.


  Maarten Schenk

Lead Stories co-founder Maarten Schenk is our resident expert on fake news and hoax websites. He likes to go beyond just debunking trending fake news stories and is endlessly fascinated by the dazzling variety of psychological and technical tricks used by the people and networks who intentionally spread made-up things on the internet.  He can often be found at conferences and events about fake news, disinformation and fact checking when he is not in his office in Belgium monitoring and tracking the latest fake article to go viral.

Read more about or contact Maarten Schenk

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