Fact check: Fake tweet used to claim AOC called for a ‘purge’ of conservatives

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The claim: Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweet calls for Democrats to begin ‘The Purge’ and round up ‘Conservative traitors’

Social media users are sharing a photoshopped tweet that claims U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., called for a “purge” of conservatives now that Joe Biden has been elected president.

The tweet appeared after President Donald Trump’s supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 and before Ocasio-Cortez’s video made on Jan. 12, in which she called the president a “traitor” to the country and said she feared for her safety during the riot.

“Congrats to President Joe Biden. Now let’s begin ‘The Purge’ to roundup all Conservative traitors,” the alleged tweet reads, posted by one user as a screenshot to Facebook on Jan. 12. “Democrats, let’s make Auschwitz look like a picnic!”

Many users across Facebook have shared the same screenshot, which includes Ocasio-Cortez’s profile picture from her personal Twitter account and a blue checkmark. The tweet has no date or timestamp. USA TODAY reached out to the Facebook users for comment.

The claim is false and there is no evidence of the tweet ever having appeared on Ocasio-Cortez’s Twitter accounts.

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No evidence of tweet

The image has been altered, and a search of Ocasio-Cortez’s personal and official Twitter accounts comes up with no such tweets referencing “the purge.”

While some users claimed that she had deleted the tweet, a search on ProPublica’s “Politwoops” database that tracks tweets deleted by elected officials also results in no matches under Ocasio-Cortez’s deleted tweets.

On Jan. 14, Ocasio-Cortez addressed the fake tweet on her personal Twitter account and wrote, “FYI there is (yet another) viral misinformation campaign going on, this time a false tweet that’s been photoshopped to look like I sent out a call for a ‘purge.’”

This is not the first time Ocasio-Cortez has been the target of fake tweets circulating on social media. USA TODAY recently debunked the claim that Ocasio-Cortez authored a tweet that her shoes were stolen during the Capitol riot.

In July, social media users falsely claimed that Ocasio-Cortez tweeted that governors should maintain restrictions on businesses until after the election.

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Our rating: False

The claim that Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted that Democrats should begin “the purge” and round up “Conservative traitors” is FALSE, based on our research. She confirmed on Twitter that the tweet is fake, and there is no record of the tweet on her official Twitter account or ProPublica’s Politwoops archive.

Our fact-check sources:

Thank you for supporting our journalism. You can subscribe to our print edition, ad-free app or electronic newspaper replica here.

Our fact check work is supported in part by a grant from Facebook.

Fact check: Alexandria Ocasio Cortez ‘conservative traitors’ tweet is fabricated

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Social media users have been sharing a screenshot of a fabricated tweet allegedly from Democratic Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez saying that now Joe Biden has been elected president, they should begin “the purge” to round up “Conservative traitors” that will be worse than the holocaust.

U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) participates in a Census Town Hall at the Louis Armstrong Middle School in Queens, New York City, U.S., February 22, 2020. REUTERS

“Congrats to President Joe Biden. Now let’s begin “The Purge” to roundup all Conservative traitors! Democrats, let’s make Auschwitz look like a picnic!” says the tweet in the posts (here , here , here , here) . The tweet author is listed as “Alexandria Ocasio…”, appears to have a blue tick and uses the same photo as Ocasio-Cortez does in her Twitter profile. There is no date on the alleged tweet, which appears to have been retweeted over 9,000 times. Captions include, “DEMOCRAT PARTY HATE SPEECH”; “Here’s what they want to do to you” I screenshot it before it was deleted” and “How in hell is this acceptable. What is wrong with people.”

“The Purge” is a thriller/horror movie and subsequent TV series where all crime, including murder, is legal for 12 hours (www.imdb.com/title/tt2184339/, www.imdb.com/title/tt6110648/) .

There is no record of this tweet on Ocasio-Cortez’s personal or official Twitter accounts (twitter.com/RepAOC , twitter.com/AOC , here , here) .

Reuters could not find the alleged tweet in ProPublica’s “Politwoops” archive, which tracks deleted tweets by public officials (here). Deleted Tweets from Ocasio-Cortez can be found here .

A Reuters search found no credible news stories reporting Ocasio-Cortez having tweeted this statement.

Ocasio-Cortez’s press team did not immediately respond to Reuters request for comment.

Ocasio-Cortez’s tweet congratulating Joe Biden said, “Congratulations to President-elect Joe Biden & Vice President-elect Kamala Harris!”, and can be seen here .

Reuters previously debunked another fake tweet attributed to Ocasio-Cortez (here).


Altered. There is no evidence of Ocasio-Cortez ever having tweeted this.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact-checking work here .

Fact check: Ocasio-Cortez lost no shoes. A fake tweet claimed they were stolen in riot

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The claim: AOC tweeted that Capitol rioters stole her shoes

When insurgents attacked the Capitol on Jan. 6, thieves made off with several stolen items, but despite what a popular tweet claims, U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s shoes were not among them.

“As most people know by now, many things were stolen during the terrorist insurrection at the Capitol: laptops, mail, even the Speaker’s lectern,” reads a fake tweet made to appear to come from Ocasio-Cortez’s verified Twitter account. “Security cameras also pick up a well-disguised fellow about 5’4” stealing all of my SHOES, for Chrissake. Unbelievable.”

The tweet appears to have been posted at 2:42 a.m. on Jan. 10 and received 739 retweets, 126 quote tweets and 25,800 likes.

Social media users across Facebook, Instagram and Reddit have shared varied versions of the tweet since Jan. 10.

Facebook user Stephen Powell made a 12-minute video explaining how the stolen shoes fulfilled a religious prophecy. His video garnered more than 1,500 likes and reactions on Facebook.

Others have speculated that the alleged thief was conservative political commentator Ben Shapiro.

However, the Democratic congresswoman from New York’s shoes were never stolen. While several things were taken during the Capitol riot, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s lectern and a conference room laptop, USA TODAY could find no reports that Ocasio-Cortez’s shoes were among the missing items.

More: Fact check: What’s true about the Capitol riot, from antifa to BLM to Chuck Norris

USA TODAY reached out to several Facebook, Instagram and Twitter users that posted this fake tweet, and three responded.

Powell said he believed the tweet was authentic when it was sent to him, but he removed his video after USA TODAY questioned the tweet’s authenticity.

“I didn’t check this out at first because it didn’t seem like someone would falsify something like that… what would be the point?” he wrote.

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The other two said they posted the image suspecting it was not real.

“I found it on twitter, thought it was funny, and posted it as a joke,” wrote GrittyDebs2020. “There was no time when I thought that AOC was saying that Ben Shapiro had stolen her shoes.”

“I don’t think the tweet is even real,” i_have_no_memes_public told USA TODAY.

Ocasio-Cortez’s office says tweet is fake

Lauren Hitt, the congresswoman’s communications director, told USA TODAY in an email the tweet was fake. She said Ocasio-Cortez’s staff reported the fake tweet to Twitter and Facebook on Jan. 12. She confirmed with USA TODAY that no shoes were stolen during the attack.

In this file photo taken on February 7, 2019 US Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, (lL), Democrat of New York, and Rep. Ilhan Omar, Democrat of Minnesota, attend a press conference calling on Congress to cut funding for US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and to defund border detention facilities, outside the US Capitol in Washington.

The congresswoman addressed the falsehood and other misinformation in a Jan. 14 Twitter thread.

“On a lighter note there was also another viral photoshopped tweet about my shoes… but also now ppl are asking if I need shoes… no thanks. That was fake too!” she tweeted. “Sometimes when people call me ’extreme’ I wonder how many fake Facebook stories/posts they’ve been exposed to.”

On a lighter note there was also another viral photoshopped tweet about my shoes (😬) but also now ppl are asking if I need shoes 😭 no thanks. That was fake too!

Sometimes when people call me “extreme” I wonder how many fake Facebook stories/posts they’ve been exposed to — Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) January 14, 2021

No record of tweet on AOC’s profile

USA TODAY could find no record of the shared tweet on Ocasio-Cortez’s Twitter profile.

Archived pages of Ocasio-Cortez’s Twitter profile show the viral tweet was not visible on her profile as of 6:28 a.m. Jan. 10, less than four hours after the tweet was allegedly shared.

More: Fact check: No, Chuck Norris wasn’t at the riot at the U.S. Capitol

USA TODAY has previously fact-checked fake tweets, altered to appear as if they’d come from Ocasio-Cortez’s account.

Federal prosecutors continue to identify and arrest individuals involved in the Capitol riot.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., speaks, Thursday, Nov. 19, 2020, outside the Democratic National Committee (DNC) Headquarters in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin) ORG XMIT: DCJM102

Our ruling: False

We rate the claim that U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., authored a tweet about Capitol rioters stealing her shoes FALSE. The congresswoman’s office, archived webpages and her own Twitter profile confirm the tweet is fake. There is no evidence any of Ocasio-Cortez’s shoes were stolen in the riot.

Our fact-check sources:

Thank you for supporting our journalism. You can subscribe to our print edition, ad-free app or electronic newspaper replica here.

Our fact check work is supported in part by a grant from Facebook.

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

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Fact check: AOC tweet about shoes stolen during Capitol riot is fake