False tweet indicates shoplifting to prevent COVID-19 from spreading

Ella Lee



The claim: The CDC tweeted that it is “more ethical to leave store theft” and leave the store to prevent the spread of COVID-19 than to wait in line and pay

An Instagram post alleges that Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggested shoplifting to save lives this holiday season.

“It’s more ethical to leave store theft and leave the store to prevent the spread of COVID-19 than to wait in line and pay. Please protect others,” reads a tweet allegedly from the CDC’s official Twitter account sent.

A screenshot of the tweet was shared to Instagram. The account it shared told USA TODAY that the message was a joke.

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Tweet is fake

Belsie González, a senior public affairs specialist for the CDC, told the USA TODAY that the tweet was false.

“The tweet you described does not come from any CDC source, it does not come from our Twitter account or any other official CDC channel,” González said in an email.

An advanced search in the CDC’s Twitter messages confirmed that the agency did not make any tweets containing the word “shoplifting” or the phrase “more ethical to make shoplifting.”

The sham tweet appears to have originated on the Instagram of comic writer Cory Snearowski, who posted the fake screenshot and other alleged fake CDC tweets in a Twitter thread.

Snearowski did not respond to a request from USA TODAY for comment.

Prior to Thanksgiving, the CDC issued guidelines for coronavirus-friendly shopping, suggesting that during Black Friday and the holiday season, people should shop online and use pick-up or other contactless services to pick up items. It has also suggested that you limit your shopping to the open air markets while staying masked and staying 6 meters away from other buyers. Other CDC holiday guidelines can be found here.

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Our rating: false

We rate the allegation that the CDC tweeted that it is “more ethical to shoplift” than to wait in line amid the COVID-19 pandemic as FALSE because it was not supported by our research. A CDC spokesman confirmed to USA TODAY that the agency did not post the tweet, which USA independently confirmed today through an advanced Twitter search.

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