Summary List Placement
Facebook announced Saturday evening it would remove false claims that Oregon's wildfires were caused by far-left anti-fascist arsonists. Those false claims have resulted in local sheriff's departments being inundated with questions about the inaccurate rumors — and those inquiries have been draining their resources and hampering efforts to respond to the wildfires and people who need help. "We are removing false claims that the wildfires in Oregon were started by certain groups," Facebook spokesman Andy Stone tweeted Saturday. "This is based on confirmation from law enforcement that these rumors are forcing local fire and police agencies to divert resources from fighting the fires and protecting the public." He continued: "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 fire rages on." Local Oregon authorities — such as the Douglas County Sheriff's Office, the Jackson County Sheriff's Office, the Medford Police Department and the Molalla Police Department — have published social media posts in recent days pleading with residents not to spread false information, and only to trust official sources. "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," the Douglas County Sheriff's Office said in a statement. "THIS IS NOT TRUE! Unfortunately, people are spreading this rumor and it is causing problems." A number of law enforcement agencies have said the rumors of politically motivated arsonists are false, and said the flood of misinformation is straining resources on local fire and police departments. The FBI's Portland bureau tweeted Friday that the agency had investigated several reports of extremist-related arsons and determined they were untrue. The Medford Police Department even flagged a fake post that purported to be from authorities declaring the arrest of five arsonists connected with the far-right Proud Boys. The police department said the post was untrue and false, and that no antifa or Proud Boys members have been arrested for arsons in the area.
Read more: Oregon officials said they are preparing for a 'mass fatality incident' as 500,000 people stand in evacuation zones from the wildfires ravaging the West Coast Before and after photos show how California wildfire smoke transformed San Francisco into something out of a post-apocalyptic film California just made it easier for inmate firefighters to become professionals, allowing them to have their nonviolent criminal records wiped clean People are spreading rumors that the Oregon wildfires were lit by radical activists. Twitter still hasn't taken them down. Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Inside London during COVID-19 lockdown
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