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Ocasio-Cortez did not tweet that businesses should stay closed through the 2020 election

June 23, 2020 GMT

CLAIM: A May 20 tweet sent and later deleted by U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a Democrat representing New York, argues that governors should keep businesses closed until after the presidential election because economic recovery will help get President Donald Trump re-elected.

AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. The tweet was fabricated. It does not appear in archived versions of Ocasio-Cortez’s Twitter feed or in databases that track deleted tweets by politicians. The congresswoman’s office also confirmed the tweet is not real.

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THE FACTS: On Tuesday, June 23 _ the same day as New York state’s primary election _ an image of the tweet allegedly posted by Ocasio-Cortez circulated rapidly on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

“It’s vital that Governors maintain restrictions on businesses until after the November Elections because economic recovery will help Trump be re-elected,” the fabricated tweet read. “A few business closures or job losses is a small price to pay to be free from his presidency. #KeepUsClosed.”

Social media users sharing the image in Facebook groups and other social media forums claimed the congresswoman, who represents parts of Queens and the Bronx, deleted the tweet after it had already amassed more than 20,000 retweets.

They used the image to criticize the congresswoman and her intentions on the same day she was defending her seat in a Democratic primary election.

“Lil’ miss enemy of the people strikes again,” one Instagram user said.

Another Facebook user sharing the image in a pro-Trump Facebook group said, “‼️Twitter removed this but its important for EVERYONE to see.This AOC tweet has been deleted but important that EVERYONE sees this since this brat us leading the entire Democrat party.”

But an investigation into the supposed tweet reveals there is no evidence that it ever appeared on Ocasio-Cortez’s Twitter timeline.

Archived versions of her account from the day it was allegedly posted don’t show the tweet. Neither do databases that track deleted tweets by politicians.

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There’s also no indication that the tweet was re-shared by anyone between May 20, the date on the tweet, and June 23. A tool that tracks the first Twitter user to post certain words and phrases showed that the message didn’t appear on the site until June 23.

Reached for comment on Tuesday, the congresswoman’s office said the tweet is fake and they have reported it to Facebook.

Facebook should take this down,” Lauren Hitt, communications director for the congresswoman, said in a statement. “It’s yet another example of their platform being used to deliberately mislead people. These likely right-wing actors are trying to disenfranchise the people of New York on Election Day.”

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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