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- More than a decade after The Onion published a satirical video claiming Facebook was created by the CIA, false claims that Mark Zuckerberg is a CIA agent are still spreading on social media.
More than 10 years ago, the satirical publication The Onion posted a video that described Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg as a CIA agent and said that the federal agency’s "invention of Facebook has saved the government millions of dollars."
The video is no longer live on the Onion’s website, but Mashable, reporting on it at the time, said that it was "perhaps inspired by a recent interview with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who called Facebook ‘the most appalling spy machine that has ever been invented.’"
Recently, a similar claim started to spread on social media: "They just exposed Mark Zuckerberg as a CIA agent," a May 23 Facebook post says.
This post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)
This claim may stem from that same satirical Onion video which is newly spreading on social media via TikTok.
Real news outlets, such as NBC News and CBS News, have previously reported on how the CIA and the FBI use Facebook, but there’s no evidence to support the claim that Zuckerberg was exposed as a CIA agent.
We rate that claim Pants on Fire.
Facebook post, May 23, 2022
TikTok post, April 29, 2022
Mashable, The Onion: Mark Zuckerberg Is a CIA Agent [SATIRE], May 23, 2011
The Onion, CIA's 'Facebook' Program Dramatically Cut Agency's Costs, archived May 21, 2011
YouTube, Facebook CIA Project: The Onion News Network ONN, visited May 24, 2022
CBS News, Social Media Is a Tool of the CIA. Seriously, July 11, 2011
NBC News, FBI trawled Facebook to arrest protesters for inciting riots, court records show, June 19, 2020
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