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FBI did not reply to Sky News tweet about Prince Andrew

April 12, 2021 GMT

CLAIM: When the British news outlet Sky News tweeted a video interview with Prince Andrew, the FBI responded with its own tweet, saying, “Ooh, is he doing interviews now?”

AP’S ASSESSMENT: Altered photo. The FBI did not send this tweet. British composer Nick Harvey confirmed to The Associated Press that he created the image as a joke. 

THE FACTS: On Friday, Buckingham Palace announced that Prince Philip, husband to Queen Elizabeth II, had died at 99.

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In the days since then, family members including Philip’s son, Prince Andrew, have spoken to the press about the loss. On April 11, Sky News tweeted a video clip of an interview with Andrew, in which he reflected on the queen’s response to her husband’s death.

A fabricated image circulating widely on social media on Monday appeared to show a screenshot of that tweet, along with a wry reply tweet from the FBI. 

The apparent FBI tweet read, “Ooh, is he doing interviews now?” 

Twitter and Facebook users recognized it as a reference to Andrew’s lack of cooperation with a probe into accused sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. In January 2020, U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman said prosecutors and the FBI had contacted Andrew’s lawyers and asked to interview him, but that Andrew had provided “zero cooperation.”

“The FBI wins Twitter today,” wrote several social media users sharing the image. 

A search on Twitter revealed that the Sky News tweet was real, but the FBI response was not. It existed only as part of the manipulated image created by British composer Nick Harvey.

Harvey tweeted to claim ownership of the image, saying, “Of course the FBI would never actually tweet a reply like this, so I thought I’d mock it up for them instead.”

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Harvey also confirmed he made the image in an email to the AP.

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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