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Disney didn’t remove ‘Baby Yoda’ GIFs

December 17, 2019 GMT

CLAIM: Disney removed GIFs of  “Baby Yoda” on social media due to copyright issues

AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. Giphy, a GIF database, was responsible for removing animated mini clips of the character from the new Disney Plus Star Wars streaming series “The Mandalorian.” 

THE FACTS: Following the launch of the Disney Plus streaming service earlier this month, images of the character nicknamed Baby Yoda from the “The Mandalorian” series went viral on social media. Although the character looks like Yoda, the ancient Jedi master from the original Star Wars movies, the character in the series is called “The Child.” 

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But in the last few days reports began circulating that Baby Yoda GIFs were disappearing from posts and on websites because of copyright issues. Multiple users accused Disney of pulling the clips, and several media outlets reported that Disney was taking down the posts. 

One Twitter user falsely stated: “Disney is copyright striking anyone who posts GIFs of Baby Yoda out of copyright concerns. They really know how to alienate their fanbase.” 

The false claims about Disney angered many social media users, who cast the company as an “evil empire.” Disney’s supposed intervention was “imperial,” one user posted. 

Giphy released a statement citing “confusion” as the reason why the GIFs were taken down. The site also apologized to Disney, and restored the GIFs. The AP reached out to Giphy, but the site declined to elaborate on why it removed the GIFs. Disney referred questions to Giphy.

Disney Plus, which launched Nov. 11, gained 10 million subscribers on its first 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