Fact Check: George Soros NOT Arrested For Election Interference, NOT In Federal Custody

Fact Check

  • by: Maarten Schenk
Fact Check: George Soros NOT Arrested For Election Interference, NOT In Federal Custody Fake Document

Was George Soros arrested by the FBI and is he currently in federal custody in Philadelphia under accusation of election interference? No, that's not true: the Canadian website that ran the story has a track record of publishing hoaxes and the screenshot of the supposed unsealed court document it offers as proof is photoshopped.

The story first appeared as an article published by Conservative Beaver on November 23, 2020 titled "George Soros ARRESTED for election interference, in federal custody - Conservative Beaver" (archived here) which opened:

PHILADELPHIA - George Soros has been arrested, and is currently in federal custody in Philadelphia. According to a recently unsealed indictment filed in the West District of Pennsylvania, Soros committed a slew of serious crimes prior to the US election.

The indictment focuses only on the criminal activity Soros participated in prior to the election, such as wire fraud, identity theft, and damage to computers.

The FBI stated that the indictment will likely be updated to reflect election interference charges in relation to Dominion Voting, once the full scale of Soros' operations is known. Soros is currently being interrogated by the FBI.

It illustrated the claim with following image that supposedly proved this was real:

sorossuit.png

However that image is a forgery. It was created by taking the (real) indictment against six Russian hackers and replacing their names with that of Soros.

sorossuit2.png

You can see the original indictment here (archived here) and read more about that case here.

Earlier, the site Conservative Beaver published a hoax story claiming Hunter Biden had been arrested, which we debunked here. At the time Lead Stories Authenticity Analyst Sarah Thompson looked further into the site and came to following conclusions:

The website Conservative Beaver is less than two months old and was registered on September 19, 2020. The "About" section of the website says, "Owned and operated by Zayden Thornton, based out of Montreal, Canada." The Dibiz page link for Zayden Thornton of Conservative Beaver (archived here) shows a profile picture that appears to be a StyleGAN computer-generated face.

hunter02.JPG

Screenshot of the StyleGAN profile picture of Zayden Thornton on Dibiz

The image file posted to Dibiz is 800x800 pixel square. The square format is one of the most telling signs of a StyleGAN image. For example, Thispersondoesnotexist.com creates 1024x1024 pixel images. A computer-generated blend of 5000 StyleGAN faces was posted to Twitter by @conspirator0 (shown below in the upper right corner) StyleGAN images anchor the eyes in the same position of the square. The lower blended image is Zayden's face layered as a transparency over the original composite. The image of Zayden lines up with the blended face example. Other small tells of the StyleGAN face are the asymmetrical size of the front teeth, the blobby anatomy of the right ear-lobe, the unnatural "stretch mark" patterning on the upper lip, and the "tree root" branching of the hair of the bangs. More recent StyleGAN images have improved natural outdoor backgrounds, but the flaws of the landscape are hidden by (faux) depth of field effects.

ZaydenStylegan.jpg

Further analysis of the Conservative Beaver website reveals that it has the same Google Adsense code as another website which quickly earned a reputation for fake news, TorontoToday.net.

Lead Stories debunked these TorontoToday.net stories late in the summer of 2020.

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Lead Stories took a look at StyleGAN images in this analysis article:

Fake Faces: People Who Do Not Exist Invade Facebook To Influence 2020 Elections (Part 1)

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This fact check is available at IFCN's 2020 US Elections #Chatbot on WhatsApp. Click here, for more.


  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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