Story at a glance

  • About three dozen fires are currently active and more than 863,000 acres have been burned in Oregon.
  • Several false reports alleging extremists are responsible for setting wildfires in Oregon have made the rounds on social media.
  • Facebook says it is taking down these posts but several remain on Twitter.

FBI Portland and local law enforcement agencies, from Douglas to Jackson County, have investigated several reports that extremists are responsible for setting wildfires in Oregon and said they were untrue. 

"Conspiracy theories and misinformation take valuable resources away [from] local fire and police agencies working around the clock to bring these fires under control. Please help our entire community by only sharing validated information from official sources," the FBI said in a statement.

Facebook spokesperson Andy Stone said on Twitter the social media platform would remove false claims based on confirmation from law enforcement.


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"This is consistent with our past efforts to remove content that could lead to imminent harm given the possible risk to human life as the fires rage on," Stone said

 

But several posts on Twitter making similarly false claims remain up. One viral tweet that came from Paul J. Romero, Jr., a veteran who ran for Senate in Oregon, according to his campaign website, but lost the Republican primary. 

 

The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office issued a statement denying Romero’s claims the next day.

“Rumors spread just like wildfire and now our 9-1-1 dispatchers and professional staff are being overrun with requests for information and inquiries on an UNTRUE rumor that 6 Antifa members have been arrested for setting fires in DOUGLAS COUNTY, OREGON. THIS IS NOT TRUE!” the department said in a statement


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Published on Sep 15, 2020