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Fact check: Oval Office is not ‘permanently closed’ on Apple maps

Social media users have been sharing posts that say the Oval Office in the White House is permanently closed, using screenshots purportedly from Apple maps that show the Oval Office marked as “permanently closed”. This claim is false: the Oval Office has not permanently closed as President Biden is working there and this notice does not appear on Apple maps.

U.S. President Joe Biden meets with new U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin (R) and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley as Vice President Kamala Harris stands by in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, U.S., January 25, 2021. REUTERS

Examples of the posts, dated Jan. 26 and Jan. 27 can be seen  here  ,  here  and  here  . Captions include, “As in right now [downwards arrow pointing to screenshot]”; “Screenshot from my phone (Apple Maps). Feel free to call the whitehouse number (202) 456-1111 You will hear: “Oval Office is temporarily closed”; and “A screen shot from my Apple Maps!! That’s EXACTLY RIGHT!!! The US IS NO LONGER FOR SALE!”

In the caption of one post it says, “Remember, the 10 days of Darkness we were told about? Today is day 6” (here) . This is likely linked to the widely debunked QAnon conspiracy, which is based around the idea that former President Trump is secretly fighting a cabal of child-sex predators that includes prominent Democrats, Hollywood elites and “deep state” allies (here) . QAnon supporters believe that Biden is not president and the military is in power until Trump returns to office on March 4 and exposes the supposed cabal of Satan-worshipping pedophile cannibal elites. Reuters debunked some of these claims here - a U.S. government defense official told Reuters via email that neither martial law nor the Insurrection Act had been declared. The baseless claim of the days of darkness seems to refer to a fictional time when it will appear that the government has shut down but the “new government” will in fact be taking over (here) .

Reuters conducted an Apple Maps search for the Oval Office on Jan. 27 (when some of the posts claimed that their Apple maps showed the Oval Office as closed) and did not see the closed label, as seen in a screenshot  ibb.co/FWD9p8h . Another search on Jan. 28 did not show the closed label either (ibb.co/dD99wP1 and ibb.co/tBhmJ4n) . On both searches Reuters did not see any opening hours listed for the Oval Office.

An Apple spokesman told Reuters via email the company was not aware of this office closure on Apple Maps.

President Biden can be seen working in the Oval Office on Jan. 27 in an official White House video here  . President Biden and his administration did not stop working on Jan. 26 or Jan. 27: on Jan. 26 Biden announced that United States aims to acquire an additional 200 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines (here  ,  here) and on Jan. 27 he signed new executive orders to combat climate change (here) . The White House Briefing Room on its website also gives more details of the work that Biden and the administration completed during this time, visible  here .

Reuters earlier this week debunked another post that made false claims about Biden’s Oval Office, saying that it is a fake movie set (here) .

VERDICT

False. The Oval Office has not permanently closed and Apple Maps have not shown it to be.

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

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