Shortly after President Trump fired FBI Director James Comey Tuesday, a tweet purporting to be from Comey that said "the pee tape is real" began racking up thousands of retweets.
This tweet is not real.
The tweet refers to the unverified dossier, first published by BuzzFeed News, claiming Russia had compromising information about Trump. Among the most headline-grabbing allegations was a claim that Trump had hired Russian prostitutes to pee on a hotel bed in Moscow. Trump has denied the allegations.
Nevertheless, to some, the alleged Comey tweet apparently seemed like confirmation that Trump was compromised by the Russians — and that Comey knew how to drop a sick (and incriminating!) burn on his way out the door.
But the tweet is fake on many, many levels.
First of all, the tweet is 13 characters longer than Twitter's 140 character limit.
That automatically means its fake and we could stop there. But since a number of people seemed to have been fooled, let's continue.
Second, the Twitter account @jamescomey does not belong to Comey. And it never has.
The @jamescomey account, on the other hand, was disabled as of Tuesday, which is when the "pee tape is real" tweet was allegedly sent.
Moreover, the fake tweet shows a blue checkmark next to Comey's name. But Twitter does not verify accounts that purport to be someone they are not. Since Comey never used the @jamescomey account, it would never have been verified.
And speaking of Comey's name, in the fake tweet it's written in a greenish color. Twitter uses this color (or something similar to it) for some text on its website, but this reporter could not find any way to get user handles to show up in green text. Instead, Twitter uses black text.
Here's the fake Comey tweet side-by-side with another randomly chosen, but real, tweet:
If that isn't enough, the alleged Comey tweet came in the form of a screenshot from @InternetHippo, an account that has shared many joke screenshots in the past. One of these, from last week, made it look like top Trump strategist Steve Bannon had written "the pee tape is real" on a white board in the White House. (Bannon did not write this, duh.)
Finally, common sense.
Jim Dalrymple is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Los Angeles.
Contact Jim Dalrymple II at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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