Did Antifa admit to igniting fires all over the country to draw attention to climate change? No, that's not true: The Twitter account behind the claim has been permanently suspended for violating the platform's manipulation and spam policy, a spokesperson said. All signs point to it being a fake account. Also, there's no evidence that Antifa is responsible for the fires. Authorities have repeatedly shot down that rumor.
The claim appeared in a post (archived here) published by Abrupt Earth Changes on September 12, 2020. The headline of the post contained the claim. It read:
ANTIFA admit to "igniting fires" all over the country to draw attention to 'Climate Change'
Users on social media saw this:
ANTIFA admit to "igniting fires" all over the country to draw attention #ClimateChange-- BeachMilk (@YellowCube7) September 12, 2020
Leftist-terrorists did the same thing in Australia during their bushfire season last year. #auspol #AnfifaTerrorists #wildfires pic.twitter.com/x6ERIiXmsq
The post is suspect for at least two reasons.
One, it's based on a tweet from an account that no longer exists. The account, which allegedly belonged to Antifa activists in Scarsdale, New York, was permanently suspended for violating Twitter's manipulation and spam policy, a spokesperson told Lead Stories. Among other things, that policy prohibits fake accounts. (As far back as 2017, New York magazine identified the Scarsdale account as one of several Antifa accounts likely to be fake. It was also included in a comprehensive list of more than 420 fake Antifa accounts.)
Two, there's no evidence that Antifa, a loosely coordinated movement of antifascist activists, is responsible for the fires that are raging in the West. Authorities have, in fact, said the opposite -- that they've looked into the claims and found no truth in them. Here's what the FBI in Portland, Oregon, said on September 11, 2020:
Reports that extremists are setting wildfires in Oregon are untrue. Help us stop the spread of misinformation by only sharing information from trusted, official sources. pic.twitter.com/ENc4c3kjep-- FBI Portland (@FBIPortland) September 11, 2020
Lead Stories has previously reported on rumors related to Antifa and the fires. Here are links to our latest stories:
- Fact Check: Ignat Shchetinin And Sammy Scott Piatt Not CHARGED With Arson Connected To Clackamas County, Oregon Wildfires
- Fact Check: KXL Radio in Portland NEVER Reported That Firefighters Were Shot At While Responding To Western Wildfires
- Fact Check: Western Wildfires Are NOT Evidence Of A Coordinated Antifa Campaign To 'Burn The Country Down'