FACT CHECK: Did The CDC Tweet That It Is ‘More Ethical To Shoplift And Leave The Store’ To Prevent COVID-19 Spread?

Elias Atienza | Fact Check Reporter

An image shared on Facebook purportedly shows a tweet from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that states, “It is more ethical to shoplift and leave the store to prevent the spread of COVID-19 than it is to wait in line and pay.”

Facebook/Screenshot

Facebook/Screenshot

Verdict: False

Check Your Fact didn’t find any record of the CDC sending the tweet. A CDC spokesperson confirmed the tweet did not come from the agency.

Fact Check:

The tweet, allegedly from the CDC’s verified Twitter account @CDCgov, reads, “It is more ethical to shoplift and leave the store to prevent the spread of COVID-19 than it is to wait in line and pay. Please protect others.” It also directs people to visit a specific page on the CDC website to get more information about the coronavirus.

However, there is no record of the CDC sending the pictured tweet. The CDC does not currently have the tweet on its Twitter timeline, and Check Your Fact didn’t find the tweet in various archived versions of the agency’s timeline on the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine. The agency also does not appear to have published guidance to the tweet’s effect on its website.

The CDC tweeting such a message would likely prompt some media coverage as well. Belsie González, a CDC senior public affairs specialist, confirmed in an email to Check Your Fact that the tweet “does not come from our Twitter account or any other CDC official channel.” (RELATED: Does The CDC Deliver Groceries And Cleaning Supplies To People In Quarantine?)

The fake CDC tweet may have originated on the social media accounts of comedic writer Cory Snearowski, who shared the fabricated screen grab on both his Instagram and Twitter accounts on Dec. 18. On his Twitter, it appeared in a thread featuring other seemingly satirical fake CDC tweets.

In guidance released ahead of Thanksgiving, the CDC recommended shopping online for the winter holidays, using contactless services such as curbside pick-up for purchased items and shopping in open air markets. The CDC also advises people to wear face coverings, practice social distancing, avoid busy hours and use home delivery for essential errands like grocery shopping.

Elias Atienza

Fact Check Reporter
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