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Biden Thanksgiving speech netted far more than 1,000 views

November 28, 2020 GMT

CLAIM: Only 1,000 people tuned in to watch Biden’s Thanksgiving address. 

AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. The claim appears to have grown from a screenshot showing the number of viewers at one point tuned into a single live stream of the speech. But the address streamed live on multiple major media sites — each with its own viewer count — and netted more than one million online views by Friday afternoon. 

THE FACTS: The day before Thanksgiving, President-elect Joe Biden addressed the nation in a speech that streamed live on various news sites and platforms at 2 p.m. EST.

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A Twitter user took a screenshot of one live stream that showed “1K” viewers were tuned in, and tweeted, “WOW! 1000 viewers? Yet, we’re supposed to believe he got 80 million votes?”

But several media outlets, as well as social media accounts for Joe Biden and his transition team, all simultaneously streamed the live speech on various platforms, including YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. Each video stream had its own set of viewers. 

Additional viewers tuned in later to watch the video once it was no longer live. 

Despite this, the false claim that only 1,000 people tuned in to watch Biden’s Thanksgiving address continued to spread on social media the day after Thanksgiving, contrasting the figure with the votes he received in the election. 

“BREAKING: How does a guy who allegedly got 80M votes only pull 1,000 viewers for his Thanksgiving Speech?! That’s what CHEATING looks like!!” was the caption of a popular Instagram video that made the same claim, and netted 100,000 views.

A review by The Associated Press on Friday afternoon of a handful of sites that had shared video of the speech showed upwards of one million views between them.

A video of the speech on Joe Biden’s official Facebook page, which was first shared as a live stream, shows more than 540,000 views. 

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The Twitter account for Biden’s transition team shows more than 75,000 views on a video that was attached to a tweet announcing the speech.

NBC News streamed the speech live on its YouTube channel, where it had more than 470,000 views. ABC News had more than 99,000 views on its YouTube channel.

A shorter video that Biden put out on Thanksgiving Day showed more than 5 million views on Twitter a day later. 

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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