Fake Facebook screenshot attempts to link Atlanta shootings to critical media coverage of China

A screenshot shared by a pro-Beijing group purporting to show the suspected Atlanta shooter posting an anti-China rant on Facebook is fake, the social media platform confirmed today.

Facebook’s Policy Communications Director Andy Stone confirmed the screen capture was fake.

“Yes, these screenshots are fake and we’re removing them from the platform for violating our policies,” Stone tweeted.

The Daily Mao – which appears to promote Chinese Communist Party propaganda – posted the forged screenshot on its twitter account shortly after 21-year-old Robert Aaron Long was arrested for allegedly shooting eight people to death on Tuesday evening.

The Daily Mao attempted to portray the shooting as being motivated by US media coverage unfavourable to China.

The Daily Mao is pointing the finger at reporter Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian at Axios, columnist Josh Rogin at the Washington Post, and other journalists who reported on China’s COVID-19 coverup.

The Daily Mao uses the fake screenshot to link Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen and Hong Kong democracy activists to the tragedy in Atlanta.

While the shootings were initially seen as an anti-Asian hate crime, the killer’s own confession appears to suggest a different motive.

Cherokee County Captain Jay Baker told the media that the killer has admitted to the shootings while denying they were racially motivated. The shooter had allegedly told the police that he was dealing with “sex addiction” and was trying to “eliminate a source of temptation”.

While Facebook is actively removing the forged screenshot from its platform, the Daily Mao’s original tweet was still active as of 12:30PM Pacific Time and continues to be shared widely on the platform.

The Daily Mao has previously branded Hong Kong Democracy activists as terrorists and justified the concentration camps in the Xinjiang region as China’s “attempts to integrate the Chinese Uyghur community into the Chinese economy and mainstream culture.”