Shinzo Abe’s Fake Tweet Unearths Baseless Clinton Conspiracy Theory

Quick setting

Internet trolls have used the death of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and a fake tweet allegedly from Abe to promote a long-running and unfounded conspiracy theory that the Clintons are responsible for the deaths of multiple people. A suspect with a personal grudge has been arrested for the assassination.


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Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was assassinated on July 8 and almost immediately misinformation about those responsible began circulating on social media in Japan and elsewhere.

Now a false claim suggesting Hillary Clinton was behind the murder is making the rounds on social media in the United States.

In reality, 41-year-old Tetsuya Yamagami was arrested and reportedly admitted to police that he targeted Abe because he believed the former prime minister had helped promote an organization he had a personal grudge against.

But social media accounts are sharing a fake tweet allegedly from Abe the day before his death that reads, “I have information that will lead to the arrest of Hillary Clinton.”

Some conservative outlets ran suggestive headlines based on the fabricated tweet.

For example, the Western Journal used this headline: “Fact Check: Did Japan’s Ex-PM Incriminate Hillary Clinton 1 Day Before Being Assassinated?” Although the full article explained that the tweet was fake, the Western Journal’s Instagram post did not. Some of those who commented on the post said, “I wouldn’t doubt it,” “Guns don’t kill people, the Clintons do!!! and “Clinton’s body count!!!! We all know!!!”

The last comment is a reference to the well-worn conspiracy theory that former President Bill Clinton and his wife, Hillary Clinton, Democratic presidential candidate in 2016, have kill many people in order to conceal alleged crimes. In this case, as in the others, there is nothing to claim.

The last tweet from Abe’s Twitter account promoted another Japanese politician, and there is no indication that he tweeted anything. recently about Clinton. In fact, the Japanese text included in the fake tweet says nothing about Clinton either, as an Associated Press article pointed out.

The fake tweet was treated as a joke in many online communities and appears to have spawned a second fake tweet, one believed to be from Clinton herself, saying, in part, “I had no murderous intentions to this prime minister, Shinzo Abe. I never told anyone to kill him. Not once. Never.”

But for social media users unfamiliar with the culture of political memes, it may seem like these tweets are real. For example, Reuters noted in an article about Abe’s fake tweet that some Twitter users expressed confusion, saying things like, “Is this real? I don’t see it on his Twitter” and “Did Shinzo Abe tweet that???”

So what might be a joke to some may be taken seriously by others. In any case, Abe did not implicate Clinton in her death by tweeting about her beforehand.

Editor’s Note: FactCheck.org is one of many organizations work with facebook to debunk misinformation shared on social media. Our previous stories can be found here. Facebook has no control over our editorial content.

Sources

Tan, Yvette and Matt Murphy. “Shinzo Abe: Japan’s Ex-Leader Killed While Giving a Speech.” BBC. July 8, 2022.

Nammo, Mei. “The alarm is being raised by online misinformation about the killer of ex-Prime Minister Abe.” The Mainichi. July 9, 2022.

Sardarizadeh, Shayan. “Murder of Shinzo Abe: Hideo Kojima threatens to sue over false messages.” BBC. July 11, 2022.

Chandler, Clay. “The Unification Church of Japan confirms that the mother of Abe’s alleged killer was a member, raising questions about possible motivation.” Fortune. July 11, 2022.

Tulip, Sophia. “Fabricated tweet circulates after Shinzo Abe’s assassination.” PA. July 8, 2022.

“Clinton body bags.” Snopes. January 24, 1998.

Abe, Shinzo (@AbeShinzo). Twitter account. Accessed July 13, 2022.

“The denial of Hillary Clinton’s role in the murder of the former Japanese prime minister is fabricated.” Reuters. July 12, 2022.

Klein, Ofra. “The Evolution of Political Memes on the Internet.” Kennedy School Examination. March 11, 2019.

Nieubuurt, Joshua. “Internet Memes: Flyer Propaganda for the Digital Age.” Communication Frontiers. January 15, 2021.

“Fact Check-Image of Shinzo Abe’s Hillary Clinton tweet is fabricated.” Reuters. July 9, 2022.

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