Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is facing harsh criticism on social media for posting, and then deleting, a tweet about Iran, which contained false information.
The tweet originally read: “Canada denounces the Iranian regime’s barbaric decision to impose the death penalty on nearly 15,000 protestors.” It was on his official Twitter page for 12 hours before being scrubbed from his page. A similar social media post, declaring that Iran had sentenced 15,000 people to death as a ‘hard lesson” for rebels was also making the rounds on various platforms.
People on Twitter slammed the PM for playing a part when it comes to spreading false information.
Fake news. You should know better, but you choose to disseminate disinformation instead. https://t.co/0yuYa4Sljj
— Sharmine Narwani (@snarwani) November 15, 2022
A combination of poor judgment, extreme agitation, and bad information on the part of a man in power would be a recipe for scandal, making a classic example of disinformation at the highest level.
Exhibit A: deleted tweet by Canadian PM Justin Trudeau. pic.twitter.com/BonYGTsgP3
— Iran Daily (@IranDailyWeb) November 15, 2022
Anyone else catch that now deleted tweet of Justin Trudeau spreading disinfo about Iran?
— U.S.Eh! (@ohfrackoff) November 15, 2022
— Shenaz Kermalli (@ShenazKermalli) November 15, 2022
I am appalled with what Iran is doing but your tweet is totally misleading . There are just 50 facing the death. Penalty . There are 16 k arrested but there are only 50 facing death . This just shows how are you manipulate and lie
— James Schuurman (@jsch164) November 15, 2022
The Prime Minister's spokesperson responded to a request for comment on how such a Tweet could have been vetted.
"The post was informed by initial reporting that was incomplete and lacked necessary context. Because of that, it has since been deleted," the statement read.
“It was based on reporting of serious concerns raised by international human rights advocates warning of possible future sentences, including the death penalty, imposed on thousands of Iranian protesters who have already been detained by the regime,” they added.
Since September, there have been sweeping protests across Iran, following the death of a woman in custody by the country’s mortality police for allegedly not following the strict rules for covering hair with a hijab.
Legislators in Iran are insisting the country’s judiciary “show no leniency” towards those protesting. This week, one person has officially been sentenced to death. According to CNN, more than 14,000 people have been arrested since September and at least 2000 have been charged for being involved in demonstrations.
The PM's spokesperson urged Canadians to not "lose sight of the fact that one person has already been sentenced to death", and "dozens of protesters have been killed by the regime’s security forces."
"Our government continues to unequivocally support the people of Iran and are taking unprecedented action to hold the regime and its enablers accountable."