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- This voicemail isn’t authentic.
President Joe Biden came under Justice Department scrutiny after the White House discovered classified documents at the Penn Biden Center think tank in Washington, D.C., where he had an office after his vice presidency.
But a Feb. 22 Instagram post claiming to feature an audio recording of Biden "trying to cover up" his handling of government records isn’t authentic.
"Audio record of Biden trying to cover up his stolen documents crime," reads text over a still image of the president. Clicking on the image produces audio that sounds like Biden leaving a voicemail for his son.
"Hey pal, it’s Dad," the recording says. "Look, I don’t think they’re going to get off my ass about these documents and I know there’s at least five more places that I can remember where they are. Listen, use the red cellphone, call up Barack and Michelle, tell them Operation Crash and Burn is a go. Do this immediately, please. Alright love you, pal. Bye."
The post sharing this recording was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.)
The first part of the recording comes from a 2018 voicemail, years before the classified documents were discovered. "Hey pal, it’s Dad," Biden says in the original voicemail. "It’s 8:15 on Wednesday night. If you get a chance, just give me a call. Nothing urgent. I just wanted to talk to you. I thought the article released online — it’s going to be printed in the Times — was good."
We searched credible news reports and other sources, but found no evidence that Biden left the voicemail contained in the Instagram post.
We did find evidence that it was fabricated. In January, the recording appeared in a TikTok post with a label "AI Voice." (AI stands for artificial intelligence.)
"Lately," Rolling Stone magazine reported recently, "virtual Biden has been spouting off — rather fluently — on a number of topics about which the president wouldn’t and/or shouldn’t have strong opinions. It’s all thanks to the advent of powerful AI tools for voice cloning."
We rate claims that this is an authentic voicemail False.
Instagram post, Feb. 22, 2023
TikTok post, Jan. 24, 2023
Rolling Stone, Fake Biden Speeches Are the Hottest Trend in AI Voice Tech, Feb. 22, 2023
Axios, What we know about the Biden classified documents investigation, Feb. 1, 2023
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