Two screenshots of purportedly CNN tweets have gone viral on social media as Russia’s military campaign against Ukraine continues.
The first tweet, attributed to CNN Afghanistan, talked about a journalist named “Bernie Gores” who was allegedly executed by Talibani soldiers in Kabul. The second tweet also mentioned “Bernie Gores” but described him as an “activist” who was the first American victim of the Russia-Ukraine crisis. The tweet is attributed to CNN Ukraine.
Screenshots were also shared on Twitter with German subtitles.
We checked the @CNNAfghan and @CNNUKR Twitter accounts and found that both were banned. It’s important to note that neither of the two accounts posing as real CNN News accounts include blue tick verification.
We also discovered that one of the fake tweets was debunked by Politifact last year.
Likewise, a fact-check by Snopes debunked the claim and identified the man in the viral tweet as YouTube celebrity Jordie Jordan.
Reuters reached out to CNN last year about the same tweet. “This is a fictional story and a false post,” Matt Dornic, CNN’s director of strategic communications, told Reuters by email.
So, during the Russia-Ukraine crisis, two fake tweets attributed to CNN went viral on social media. The tweets are part of an internet hoax and are shared whenever a major event occurs.
Social media users shared a fictional story that a CNN reporter was allegedly killed in Ukraine during Russia’s latest invasion. The posts claim that CNN shared a tweet about the man’s death in Ukraine’s ongoing crisis after he shared the same story during the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan in August 2021. But the news outlet did not publish such a story, and the tweet with the screenshot came from an unverified Twitter account masquerading as the CNN website.
Examples can be seen (here) and (here).
The text in one article read: “Wow!! The same man was ‘executed’ by the Taliban in Afghanistan and was the first American casualty in the ‘Ukraine crisis’. See how this works? CNN is the enemy of the people .Why lie? Check out all the fact-checking sites that claim these tweets never came from CNN. I found and captured the original tweets from CNN. *The man in the picture appears to be a YouTuber named Jordie Jordan… awake Wake up! #FCNN #WeAreTheNews.”
Reuters previously debunked a post showing the same person and story (here), but claimed he was a CNN reporter killed in Kabul, Afghanistan.
Fact-checkers Snopes and PolitiFact also debunked the same claims in Afghanistan at the time (here), (here), noting that photos of the same person also circulated after the August 2020 Beirut bombing.
The Twitter account shown in the screenshot is not a verified CNN account. The real CNN account (twitter.com/CNNUKR) (twitter.com/CNNAfghan) also doesn’t have a blue tick.
The @CNNUKR account is active at the time of writing but has less than 130 followers and was created in February 2022 (here). The @CNNAfghan account has been suspended (twitter.com/CNNAfghan).
CNN-verified accounts specifically for Ukraine do not appear on Twitter (here).
A search of the CNN website turned up no results for “Bernie Gores” (here), the name of the alleged journalist mentioned in the social media post. A reverse Google image search for someone in the photo will find a YouTuber named Jody Jordan (here).
Matt Dornic, CNN’s director of strategic communications, told Reuters by email that the stories were “pure fiction.”
“Social handles and stories are wrong,” Donick said. “CNN has not reported on any of these accounts.”