Fact Check: Video Is NOT Real Newscast Claiming Mark Zuckerberg Is CIA Agent -- It's 2011 Satire

Fact Check

  • by: Kaiyah Clarke
Fact Check: Video Is NOT Real Newscast Claiming Mark Zuckerberg Is CIA Agent -- It's 2011 Satire Satire Actors

Does a video posted on social media show a newscast with real journalists describing Mark Zuckerberg as a CIA agent and Facebook as a CIA surveillance replacement program? No, that's not true: The original video and audio heard in this post were produced more than a decade ago by the Onion News Network (ONN), part of a satirical news website.

The video, which shows a woman reacting to another man reacting to the newscast, appeared in a Facebook post on May 19, 2022. The caption opens:

I keep telling y'all stop posting personal shit on social media but y'all idiots won't listen... ✌🏻✌🏻how bout NOW??

Text on the right side of the screen over the man opens the one-minute-long video. It reads:

Watching the news.

This is what the post looked like on Facebook at the time of writing:CIA: Zuckerberg image.png

(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Wed June 22 17:38:05 2022 UTC)

The man in the video is TikTok user @bigdaddyleo1037, who posted the video seen in this Facebook post with hashtags #onion news and #comedy.

The satirical "news" report by the Onion News Network says the CIA uses Facebook to gather information and "much of the credit belongs to CIA agent Mark Zuckerberg, who runs the day-to-day Facebook operations for the agency ..."

Social media users on TikTok and Facebook have reposted the video without the hashtags or the Onion News logo vaguely seen in the bottom right-hand corner of the fake newscast on the TV in the video. The original satirical video, archived on March 21, 2011, titled "CIA's 'Facebook' Program Dramatically Cut Agency's Costs" (archived) is no longer live on the ONN website.

It can still be seen in this March 22, 2011, YouTube video, titled, "Facebook CIA Project: The Onion News Network ONN," which featured fake journalists saying things like users of certain social media companies deserve to be "bombed." All of the people seen in the video are actors. For instance, host "Brooke Alvarez" is actress Suzanna Sena.

Previously Lead Stories has refuted claims concerning Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook (here) and the satirical Onion (here).

(Editors' Note: Facebook is a client of Lead Stories, which is a third-party fact checker for the social media platform. On our About page, you will find the following information:

Since February 2019 we are actively part of Facebook's partnership with third party fact checkers. Under the terms of this partnership we get access to listings of content that has been flagged as potentially false by Facebook's systems or its users and we can decide independently if we want to fact check it or not. In addition to this we can enter our fact checks into a tool provided by Facebook and Facebook then uses our data to help slow down the spread of false information on its platform. Facebook pays us to perform this service for them but they have no say or influence over what we fact check or what our conclusions are, nor do they want to.)

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  Kaiyah Clarke

Kaiyah Clarke is a fact-checker at Lead Stories. She is a graduate of Florida A&M University with a B.S. in Broadcast Journalism and is currently pursuing an M.S. in Journalism. When she is not fact-checking or researching counter-narratives in society, she is often found reading a book on the New York Times Bestseller List.

Read more about or contact Kaiyah Clarke

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