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Fact check: Old fabricated Obama “Kenyan birth certificate” resurfaces

Users on social media are sharing an old fake birth certificate claiming it belongs to former president Barack Obama, feeding into the false claims that he was born in Kenya. This long-standing false claim has been circulating online since 2009.

Reuters Fact Check. REUTERS/Axel Schmidt

The claim recently resurfaced after Malik Obama, Barack Obama’s half-brother, tweeted an image of the forgery ( archive.vn/Ejj75 ) on June 15. Different iterations of the claim are visible here and here .

False allegations around Barack Obama’s birthplace have been circulating for years, promoted by people who challenged his eligibility to be president ( here , here ). As a result of the controversy, Obama publicly released his Hawaiian birth certificate on two occasions: a shorter version in 2008 bit.ly/2UVsf6p and a more detailed one in 2011 reut.rs/3fvyyoY .

The false certificate shown in the posts started circulating in August 2009 and has since been debunked by multiple fact checkers (see Snopes here and PolitiFact here ).

According to Snopes, the fake document was created based on a copy of the birth certificate of Australian David Jeffrey Bomford, issued in South Australia in 1959 ( here ). The faux Kenyan certificate indeed has a seal on its bottom-left-hand corner reading “South Australia”.

According to PolitiFact, a blogger identified the original Bomford birth certificate as having been used in the fake spinoffs after finding it on a genealogy website.

Another visible error pointed out by social media users ( here and here ) is that the fake certificate wrongly states Kenya was a republic in 1961 (date of the alleged registration and Obama’s year of birth). Kenya gained independence from Britain in 1963 and was declared a republic in 1964 ( here , bit.ly/2zGLzNl ).

The colors of the image shared by Malik Obama resemble the hoax documents that can be created on the prank website Kenyan Birth Certificate Generator ( here ). The site has been around since 2009 ( here ).

Examples of “certificates” generated via this site are visible here ( bit.ly/3df1Qqd and bit.ly/3hF070Q ).

The website appears to use a copy of Bomford’s birth certificate as its template, as the folding lines and certificate number are identical.

The fake Obama certificate has apparently been edited to remove references to the generator, such as the notice reading “certified fake” on the yellow seal and the label “kenyanbirthcertificategenerator.com” at the bottom.

It is not the first time that Malik Obama, a vocal Donald Trump supporter ( here , here ), has tweeted a false birth certificate of Barack Obama ( here ).

VERDICT

False. This is a fake birth certificate, likely made with a prank birth certificate generator. Iterations of this claim have been circulating since 2009.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our work to fact-check social media posts  here  .    

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