FACT CHECK: Did The Guardian Publish This Story About Michael Spencer Funding A Militia In The Congo?

Hannah Hudnall | Fact Check Reporter

An image shared on Facebook purportedly shows an article published by The Guardian about Michael Spencer, a member of the U.K.’s House of Lords, funding a Congolese militia.

Verdict: False

The image has been digitally altered. The Guardian confirmed it did not publish such an article.

Fact Check:

The image shows what appears to be the front page of a print edition of The Guardian, a popular British news outlet. One of the headlines on the alleged front page reads, “Michael Spencer Accused of funding Congo militia,” and features a picture of Spencer.

“LATE NEWS…” claims the image’s caption. “British criminal Michael Spencer is in Kenya and negotiating a deal with Kenya [Deputy President] William Ruto to finance his 2022 Presidential bid.” (RELATED: Viral Image Claims To Show Guardian Article About The BBC’s George Orwell Statue Being Removed) 

The alleged front page and the article about Spencer are fake, however. Neither appear on The Guardian’s website or on the company’s verified Facebook and Twitter pages. Check Your Fact found no credible news reporting about Spencer funding a Congolese militia.

In an email to Check Your Fact, The Guardian confirmed “The screenshot shared is not a published Guardian headline or image.” The outlet directed Check Your Fact to a Dec. 12, 2019 tweet from the company’s Twitter account that included an image of a real front page from the print edition newspaper. 

Whoever created the altered image shared on Facebook appears to have simply superimposed the alleged article about Spencer over a real article from that Dec. 12, 2019 edition of the newspaper titled, “Corbyn urges voters to deliver ‘shock to the establishment.'”

This is not the first time The Guardian has been targeted by misinformation. Check Your Fact previously debunked claims that the newspaper published articles about Apple scanning phones for “extremist content” and BBC removing its George Orwell statue.

Hannah Hudnall

Fact Check Reporter