Does a video document an Elon Musk offer to give free gold bars to the first 10,000 people who respond to his offer? No, that's not true: The audio track of this video has been replaced with audio of a fake voice that resembles Elon Musk's. The video of Musk was taken from a remote video call to the stage of the World Government Summit in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, on February 15, 2023. During that appearance Musk did not promise to give away gold bars.
Elon's $2100 Gold Bar Giveaway Has Started!I'm back again with another crazy giveaway for you guys! This time we're giving away FREE Pure Gold Bars!
(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Tue Dec 12 14:28:18 2023 UTC)
In the altered video, which has text captioning added, it says in part:
Hello everyone, it's Elon Musk. I know times are tough right now and the holidays are just around the corner. I was just told that we will have a massive tax bill due to unexpected profits and instead of paying it I would rather give that same money to the hard working under appreciated American public. I will be giving free gold bars to the first 10,000 people who see this video.
This video has been altered with an artificial voiceover that sounds like Musk. The 39-second-long video also has several cuts and splices. Because of the number of splices, it is not practical to identify timestamps in the original 34:17-minute video where this footage came from. The original video, titled "A Conversation with Elon Musk 2.0," was posted on YouTube by the World Governments Summit channel on March 3, 2023. Musk's streamed video call appearance was projected on a large screen on the stage at the Dubai event on February 15, 2023, as reported in Fox Business.
Lead Stories conducted a text search of the original YouTube video transcript for the word "gold." It does not occur once. A Google search for the phrase "Elon Musk gold giveaway" (archived here) did not produce any results suggesting that there was a legitimate offer from Musk resembling this claim. That search did turn up a December 8, 2023, fact check published by USA Today debunking a nearly identical claim, featuring the same fake voiceover transcript -- only the voiceover was added to a video of Musk that originated from a TED talk, and the promise was a giveaway of 10,000 silver bars, rather than gold bars.
A search in the Meta ad library shows that this video is running currently in four sponsored posts. This post -- Library ID: 209162058899318 (pictured below) includes a link, societycoresitespot.com (archived here). This does not lead to information about a gold bar giveaway but, perplexingly, an AI-generated blogpost on "The Art of Paints: Exploring Colors and Techniques." Lead Stories used the Hive Moderation AI Generated text detection tool to analyze the paint article. It determined that there was a 99.9 percent chance the text was written by AI. It is likely that the paint article is presented to only some users and search engines, a practice called cloaking, in order to hide the fraudulent content that is displayed to other users.
(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Tue Dec 12 14:45:25 2023 UTC)
Additional Lead Stories fact checks debunking claims about Elon Musk can be found here.