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Encased rocks were not left for protesters, they are security barriers

June 2, 2020 GMT

CLAIM: Rocks were left on Ventura Boulevard in Los Angeles for “the next round of Antifa riots.”

AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. The rocks, which are encased in a wire frame, provide a security barrier outside Chabad of Sherman Oaks, a synagogue on Ventura Boulevard in Los Angeles. The barriers are secured to the ground.

THE FACTS: On Monday, posts circulated on social media with photos of what’s known as a gabion wall, an enclosure that can be filled with rock, brick or other organic material, to create a barrier or retaining wall.

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“Rocks mysteriously left on Ventura Blvd LA, CA for the next round of Antifa riots,” a false Facebook post claimed. “These kind of drop offs are repeated all-over the country with brick pallets.” The post had over 2,500 shares.

“Those are barriers. They’ve been there for about a year. They are mounted to the ground,” Rabbi Mendel Lipskier, of Chabad of Sherman Oaks, confirmed in a call with The Associated Press.

As protests have spread across the U.S., there have been similar false posts with photos and videos showing blocks of bricks, with claims suggesting that the bricks were intentionally laid out ahead of protests.

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This is part of The Associated Press’ ongoing effort to fact-check misinformation that is shared widely online, including work with Facebook to identify and reduce the circulation of false stories on the platform.

Here’s more information on Facebook’s fact-checking program: https://www.facebook.com/help/1952307158131536