Tens of thousands of people on Twitter have shared a quote purportedly from Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin (SDP) about US President Donald Trump.
But the quote was entirely fabricated.
“John Bolton’s new book reveals that Trump thought Finland was under Russian control. Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin says, ‘To be fair, we’ve thought the same thing about the United States since January 20, 2017.’ I love her!” wrote Twitter user Lin Peace in a post that was shared more than 26,000 times on Saturday before she deleted it.
The first part of the comment refers to an anecdote in a new book by former Trump National Security Advisor John Bolton, who says the US president twice made comments that indicated he wasn’t sure whether Finland was an independent country or a Russian satellite state.
However, Marin did not comment on John Bolton’s book at all. That part may have had its origins in another tweet from British satirical TV show Have I Got News For You written on 18th June which says:
“As a new book alleges Donald Trump thought Finland was controlled by Russia, Finnish authorities say to be fair they thought the same about him.”
Finland’s Director of Government Communications Päivi Anttikoski as well as diplomats at the Finnish Embassy in Washington DC were left fighting fires as the fake news tweet went viral online.
“Prime Minister Marin has never commented on anything related to John Bolton’s book in any way. So the tweet that spread about the subject in the United States is not true” writes Anttikoski, who fielded queries from US media outlets on Saturday evening.
CNN journalist Daniel Dale, a specialist in fact-checking Donald Trump and other politicians, tweeted a screen shot of the fake Marin quote to his 800,000 followers and told them that she never said it.
This is not the first piece of fake news about Sanna Marin to go viral online since she became Prime Minister last year.
In December 2019, the same month Marin took office, a social media post in India showing young female influencers claimed they were in fact four of Finland’s government leaders. Meanwhile in January 2020 dozens of news outlets around the world published a fictional story that Marin had introduced new legislation to bring a 6-hour working day, 4-day working week to Finland; while in March 2020 an Indian news outlet published an entire interview with Marin which was totally invented.
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