An article shared on Facebook claims Black Lives Matter issued rules for white people who join protests sparked by the police killing of George Floyd. This is false; Black Lives Matter says it did not issue any such directives, and the supposed rules first appeared in posts that made no mention of the organization.
Black Lives Matter (BLM) has gained increasingly broad support since the death of Floyd in Minneapolis police custody on May 25, 2020, which sparked weeks of mostly peaceful rallies across the United States and worldwide. But the group has also been the target of misinformation, including social media posts that seek to undermine its aims and values.
Among the instructions: "If a black person tells you to do something, you do it immediately without question."
Another tells whites to "stay in the back" until they hear a call such as, "white people to the front."
The "rules," which have been called "racist," also tell whites: "Your job is to follow and add your voice when it is called for."
But Black Lives Matter did not issue the purported guidance.
"BLM Global Network did not release any 'rules for white protesters' language, nor was it posted or shared on any of our social accounts," Kailee Scales, managing director of the Black Lives Matter Global Network covering the US, Canada and UK, told AFP by email.
Like the marches themselves, the misinformation about how to protest has spread across the globe.
Some social media posts, including this one from an Australian anti-immigration party politician, linked the rules to "Black Lives Matter Melbourne" in Australia. A British-based conspiracy theorist, Paul Joseph Watson, also claimed the rules originated there.
However, a protest on June 6, 2020 in Melbourne in support of Black Lives Matter was organized by Warriors of the Aboriginal Resistance, whose Facebook page made no mention of any such rules ahead of that rally.
Some US Facebook users apparently sympathetic to Black Lives Matter shared the "rules," including here in a North Carolina group, and here ahead of a June 12 "Youth for BLM March and Speak Out" in Amherst, Massachusetts.
But Scales, of Black Lives Matter, strongly encouraged "anyone interested in or a part of our movement to seek messaging from trusted and official sources -- such as our BLM Global Network social feeds, our emails, and our official Black Lives Matter website rather than unknown or untrusted sources claiming BLM Global Network's name."
She earlier told AFP that "the disinformation about us starts at the fringe but is amplified by right-wing propaganda networks and brought into the mainstream by sharing on social platforms."
"Tomorrow there will be a PEACEFUL protest held in Vancouver. If you are planning on attending please take a look over the below!" one of them said.
A search on social media monitoring tool CrowdTangle found the earliest mention of the rules on June 2 in a Facebook post by an Arkansas resident who has posted in support of the movement.
As with many others posting the supposed guidelines, they had been copied and pasted, making their origin more difficult to determine.
AFP Fact Check has debunked more than 30 examples of false or misleading information about Floyd and the protests that followed his death.
Do you always want to share the authentic news with your friends?