June 11, 2020 / 9:10 AM / a month ago

Fact check: The Obama Foundation did not tweet a photo of George Floyd before he died

Social media posts have made the false claim that The Obama Foundation tweeted a photograph of George Floyd a week before he died.

Reuters Fact Check. REUTERS/Axel Schmidt

Examples of the posts, which have been shared hundreds of times, can be seen here , here and here .

The posts show screenshots of tweets from The Obama Foundation which were uploaded before Floyd’s death on May 25.

The tweets link to the Obama.org website, which has a preview image of a George Floyd placard.

“Wtf.. WHY !?! Would OBAMA be posting A WEEK BEFORE ABOUT GEORGE FLOYD DEATH. Why WHEN it’s NOT happened yet,” one of the posts reads ( here ).

This is incorrect. Firstly, the photo of the placard was taken after Floyd’s death. Photographer Christopher Dilts told Reuters he took the picture on May 30 on the riverfront in Chicago.

The image can be seen on the website of news agency Sipa USA, which confirms the date and location ( bit.ly/3dYaFWM ).

While Floyd’s image did appear in tweets predating his death, this is because the photo was set as the preview image for the foundation’s website.

Websites can choose a preview image, or Twitter card, (here) to appear when the site is linked to in tweets.

The card updates automatically when the data set associated with it is changed. When this happens, all tweets that link to the site - both old and new - will show the new image. When the photo of Floyd was set as the Obama.org preview image it therefore appeared on all tweets linking to the site - including ones posted before his death.

The Obama Foundation told Reuters: “There is no truth to this internet rumor. The preview image for Obama.org updates dynamically on social media sites, based on the information set.”

The foundation said this was based on a manual update of Obama.org images, which are changed periodically to reflect current events and programming.

Another example of Twitter cards being updated retroactively can be seen in tweets linking to U.S. President Donald Trump’s website.

A tweet from Trump in 2015 shows a preview image that was taken after he became president in 2017 ( here ).

VERDICT

False. The photograph of the Floyd placard was taken after his death. Old tweets from the Obama Foundation featured the photo when the preview image for the site was updated.

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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