Memes share fake Queen Elizabeth II quote about Hillary Clinton

·3 min read

Social media posts claim Queen Elizabeth II announced before she died that she had information that could lead to the arrest of Hillary Clinton. This is false; there is no record of the queen making such a statement, and the claim matches a years-old meme that reflects a conspiracy theory that the former secretary of state and her husband kill their political opponents.

"I have information that will lead to the arrest of Hillary Clinton," the queen is quoted as saying in an Instagram post shared September 9, 2022.

Variations of the same message circulated across Facebook and Instagram in posts that appeared to show screenshots of Twitter pages associated with the queen. Twitter accounts impersonating her also repeated the line.

The posts come after the queen's death September 8 at age 96. Buckingham Palace said she died peacefully at Balmoral, the British royal family's residence in Scotland.

Screenshots taken on September 13, 2022 of images shared on Facebook and Instagram

Screenshot of an Instagram post taken September 13, 2022

 

 

Some social media users appeared to take the posts seriously. But the quote is not genuine; AFP found no record of the queen issuing such a statement about Clinton, a former US presidential candidate and secretary of state.

The images shared online feature various Twitter handles, such as @queenelizabeth and @queenelizabethII. But the former is suspended and the latter does not exist.

Another widely shared image claims to show the royal family's official Twitter account saying the queen had information about Clinton's alleged criminal acts. But that account has never posted about Clinton, live and archived versions of the page show.

Fabricated tweets purporting to show public figures saying they have incriminating information about Clinton are part of a long-running internet meme.

The meme is predicated on allegations that Clinton and her husband, former US president Bill Clinton, are responsible for the deaths of numerous political opponents. The baseless claims date back to the 1990s and have contributed to the rise of other conspiracy theories, such as QAnon.

The meme has sticking power in part because "it functions like a game," said Mike Caulfield, a research scientist at the University of Washington's Center for an Informed Public who has written about the so-called "Clinton Body Count" conspiracy theory.

"For any prominent death, you can ask, 'Did this person know the Clintons or know someone who knew the Clintons?' Given the wide circle of connections that politicians make, the answer will probably be yes, and you're off to the races," Caulfield said. "The 'Clinton Body Count' is one of the simplest misinformation games out there, which gives it high participatory potential and a lot of engagement."

Previous iterations of the meme have targeted everyone from former Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe and former Soviet Union leader Mikhail Gorbachev to professional basketball legend Kobe Bryant and celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain.

AFP has fact-checked other misinformation about the queen's death here.