Online death notice doesn't prove Joe Biden is dead; anyone can update | Fact check

The claim: Ancestry.com entry proves Biden died in 2018 at Guantanamo Bay

A June 13 Instagram post (direct link, archive link) shows a woman navigating through the Ancestry.com website to a death notice for Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. with the same birthdate as President Joe Biden. The notice says Biden died in 2018 at Guantanamo, Cuba.

“This is it y’all,” the woman in the video says. “In living color. This is proof that indeed there are actors playing parts on the world stage.”

The post was liked more than 1,000 times in one week. The same video also circulated on X, formerly Twitter.

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Our rating: False

Biden is very much alive. Any user can upload information to Ancestry.com, which removed the listing after being alerted to it.

Ancestry website can be modified by any user

The claim stems from a record posted March 14 to FindAGrave.com, a site related to Ancestry.com. The original post contained Biden’s correct date and place of birth but claimed he was executed for treason. The record said he died in either 2018 or 2020, depending on which archived version is examined. Ancestry.com pulled over information from the site saying Biden died in 2018.

This would come as news to the president, who so far in June has spoken at events marking the 80th anniversary of D-Day, attended the G7 summit and prepared for an upcoming debate with former President Donald Trump.

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The Ancestry.com site doesn't prove otherwise since anyone can add information there. Although the content submission agreement says users cannot knowingly upload false information, it can happen and there is not much initial oversite, according to Katherine Wylie, a spokesperson for Ancestry.com. She told USA TODAY the false entries were removed from both sites. The Ancestry.com version was removed in June, while the FindAGrave.com version appears to have come down in March, based on online archives.

“Outside of the terms and conditions of our site, we claim no authority over what someone chooses to publish in their own family trees,” she wrote in an email.

The listing also claimed Biden was buried at Arlington National Cemetery, but a search of the Army Cemeteries Explorer shows no entries for Biden.

The claim that Biden has been replaced by a double is a frequent theme in misinformation. USA TODAY has previously debunked claims that a character actor has stood in for Biden, that a supposed twin brother did the same, that a photo proves Biden has a double because he appears to be writing with the wrong hand, and that his official portrait does not actually show Biden.

USA TODAY could not reach the Instagram user who shared the claim for comment.

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Biden death notice on Ancestry.com made up by user | Fact check