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Facebook to Pull Posts Blaming Fires on Antifa

Sheriff's deputy who spread false information is put on leave
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 13, 2020 9:03 AM CDT

(Newser) – Facebook is heeding the pleas of law enforcement and taking down posts that falsely say antifa started the wildfires now raging in the West. One sheriff's department in Oregon said its staff and 911 dispatchers have been swamped with requests for information after a rumor circulated that it had arrested six members of antifa, NBC reports. There is no evidence that anti-fascist activists have started any of the fires. In Washington, a post by a firefighters union called Facebook "an absolute cesspool of misinformation right now." A Facebook spokesman said Saturday that the step "is based on confirmation from law enforcement that these rumors are forcing local fire and police agencies to divert resources from fighting the fires and protecting the public."

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One of the false reports in Oregon came from what would seem like a credible source: a sheriff's deputy. He had posted a video on YouTube showing him, in uniform and on duty, saying, "Antifa [expletives] are out causing hell and there's a lot of lives at stake and there's a lot of people's property at stake because these guys got some vendetta." Clackamas County placed the deputy on leave, per KATU. Several police and sheriff's departments have put up posts of their own asking people to not pass along false information, per Business Insider. The Portland bureau of the FBI tweeted that it investigated reports that extremists have set fires. They have not, said the tweet, which urged not sharing that sort of information unless it comes from an official source. (Read more wildfires stories.)

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