FACT CHECK: Did BBC News Report That Joe Biden Pardoned Ted Kaczynski?

Brad Sylvester | Fact Check Editor

A viral Instagram post allegedly shows a BBC News tweet reporting that President Joe Biden pardoned Unabomber Ted Kaczynski.

Verdict: False

There is no record of BBC News sending the tweet; it appears to have originated from a parody account. Biden has not granted Kaczynski a pardon, according to the Department of Justice’s website.

Fact Check:

Between 1978 and 1995, Kaczynski engaged in a nationwide bombing campaign that left three dead and two dozen injured, according to the FBI. He was arrested by law enforcement in 1996 after a nearly 20-year manhunt and was eventually sentenced to life in prison. (RELATED: Did BBC News Publish A Story About Tom Hanks Being Arrested For Child Pornography Possession?)

A viral Instagram post falsely alleges Kaczynski will soon be a free man thanks to a presidential pardon. It shows what looks like an undated breaking news tweet from BBC News that reads, “BREAKING: Joe Biden grants federal pardon to Ted Kaczynski. Authorities expect the controversial mathematics professor to be released from prison in the next few hours.”

The tweet, however, did not actually come from BBC News. The outlet’s Twitter account has a blue checkmark, signifying Twitter has verified it as authentic, whereas the account shown in the Instagram post does not. Nothing resembling the tweet could be found on the real BBC News Twitter account, nor is there any mention of Kaczynski receiving a pardon on the outlet’s website.

It appears that the tweet is a digitally manipulated version of a July 10 tweet from the Twitter account @BBCNewsButGayer, which states in its bio that “this is a parody account.” Part of the parody account’s Twitter handle seems to have been photoshopped out. A screen grab of the parody account’s July 10 tweet can be found on the meme-sharing website iFunny.

Pardons granted by presidents often make headlines. It would have been widely covered by the media if Biden had issued one for the Unabomber. No major news outlets have reported on such a move.

The White House has not put out a press release announcing a pardon for Kaczynski, and there is likewise no mention of him receiving one on the Department of Justice’s website, where all presidential pardons and commutations are listed.

Brad Sylvester

Fact Check Editor
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