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False: The video showing an anti-Trump banner hanging on Trump Tower in Chicago was doctored


(Editor's note: this article is first published by Annie Lab, a fact-checking project by Journalism and Media Studies Centre of the University of Hong Kong and Asian Network of News and Information Educators (ANNIE), and co-written by Coco Au and Christina Chan)

A video showing a banner hanging underneath the word “TRUMP” with the message “MURDERED 200,000 AMERICANS” was posted on a Facebook page on Sept. 21, referring to the number of Americans who died from the coronavirus pandemic.

In the video, protesters are heard chanting repeatedly, “Not my president.” The post gathered more than 754 likes, 82 comments and 229 shares.

However, the video has been altered. Annie Lab’s investigation revealed that the sound of protesters’ voices has been added to the clip, with the audio potentially downloaded from freesound.org, a crowd-sourced collection of audio snippets.

The chant in the video is identical to the audio file posted by a user recorded during a protest against Donald Trump after he won the U.S. presidential elections in 2016.

The video appears to have originated from a Twitter post by a user named Pauley Teeks (@PauleyTeeks) whose watermark is visible in the footage. It was posted on Sept. 20 and has over 2 million views.

In an exchange with another user, @PauleyTeeks indicates that the banner and sound have been digitally added.

Screenshot of the exchange

The self-proclaimed creator of the video seems to have a record of creating memes about Trump.

Keyword search on Twitter, Google as well as the account’s archived versions show that @PauleyTeeks has other Twitter accounts — such as @PaulLeeTicks and @PaulLiDicul. Both are now suspended accounts.

The archived @PaulLeeTicks twitter account has the description “changing the world by any memes necessary”.

Screenshot of the suspended @PaulLeeTicks Twitter account

In the past, the owner of the said accounts admitted to editing videos by digitally adding banners on Trump hotels. In this AFP factcheck, he said he shot the video of the Trump International Hotel in Las Vegas and edited it to add a supposed Greenpeace banner with the statement “CONCENTRATION CAMPS.”

Annie Lab reached out to the Twitter account @PauleyTeeks by various means but has not received any response as of the publication of this article.

Disclaimer: This is a student work. Although faculty members at the Journalism and Media Studies Centre at the University of Hong Kong have done everything possible to verify its accuracy, we cannot guarantee there are no mistakes. If you notice an error or have any questions, please email us at [email protected].


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