Truth or Fake

US first lady Jill Biden a target of online misinformation

This week on Truth or Fake we take a look at misinformation aimed at US First Lady Jill Biden.
This week on Truth or Fake we take a look at misinformation aimed at US First Lady Jill Biden. © Observers

In the video, the first lady of the United States, Jill Biden, talks to a group of children sitting cross-legged on the floor about the picture book in her hands. Behind her, a fire crackles in a fireplace and a Christmas tree is covered in red baubles. Then, suddenly, a child shouts out, “Shut the f*** up!” before quickly being chastised by other people in the room.

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But in the video, you don’t see the child, and it immediately goes into slow-motion for a few seconds before ending. Did a child really shout an expletive at Jill Biden at a White House Christmas event?

The answer is no – this video has been altered with another audio track to make it look like the first lady was insulted by a child. As President Joe Biden’s wife, Jill Biden is often the target of online misinformation meant to denigrate her.

Finding the original footage of the event is relatively simple using the free online verification tool InVid WeVerify (click here to find out how). When you type in the URL of the doctored video and rummage through the search results, you can find the original video clip, during which no child shouts. The second step is finding out where the audio clip that was tacked on to the original video comes from. That only takes a few seconds – simply typing the offending phrase in question in Facebook’s search function takes you to a video of a classroom where a child shouts out the phrase. That video was posted online in 2019.

Another post targeting the first lady is a bit more subtle, but attempts to make her look ridiculous.

A photo of her dressed all in black while showing off the White House Christmas decorations seems tone-deaf and a little odd. Some people online made the comment that she was dressed more appropriately for Halloween than for Christmas. By using a photo verification tool, you can select which part of the photo you want to run a search on. When we ran a search just on the figure of Jill Biden in the photo, it was clear that the image of her had been taken from other photos published in April 2021 and simply photoshopped into the Christmas décor.

Watch the video in the player above to see how exactly we debunked these fake stories and learn how to do it yourself.