Sunday, May 29, 2022

Fact check: False claim that World Economic Forum chairman said internet must be reformed

Fact check: False claim that World Economic Forum chairman said internet must be reformed

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The claim: World Economic Forum Chairman Klaus Schwab said the internet must be reformed

After the World Economic Forum launched a global COVID-19 and economic recovery initiative called the Great Reset, claims have circulated linking the proposal to conspiracy theories about the pandemic and a “new world order.”

Now, some users are claiming Klaus Schwab, the organization’s chairman, said part of the Great Reset includes internet reform.

“The internet must be reformed, there is too much misinformation out there,” reads a screenshot of a purported tweet from the World Economic Forum’s account. “This will be the next step for the Great Reset, says Klaus Schawb (sic).”

The post was shared to Facebook on March 24 by the page Libertarian Candidates and generated more than 1,400 reactions in less than a week. The same screenshot was shared to Reddit, iFunny and Twitterwhere one post accumulated more than 3,000 likes.

The claim builds on the baseless Great Reset conspiracy theory alleging global elites manufactured COVID-19 to advance their interests and establish a one-world government by limiting individual freedoms.

And the tweet in question is fabricated – as one might surmise from the misspelled name of the organization’s leader. There is no evidence Schwab called for the internet to be reformed, and independent fact-checking organizations have debunked the claim.

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USA TODAY reached out to the social media users who shared the post for comment.

No evidence of statement

World Economic Forum spokeswoman Amanda Russo told USA TODAY via email that the claim circulating online is a “ridiculous and baseless statement.”

There is no evidence of the tweet on the organization’s official Twitter page or archived versions of it from March 22, the day the image claims the tweet was published. Schwab’s name is misspelled in the tweet, and there are no credible news reports stating he called for internet reform.

The image of Schwab featured in the fake tweet is from September 2018, when he spoke before a briefing at the World Economic Forum in Vietnam, according to the photo’s caption on Getty Images. The event focused on entrepreneurship and the Fourth Industrial Revolution

Founded in 1971 and headquartered in Geneva, the World Economic Forum says it aims to bring together political, business and cultural leaders to “shape global, regional and industry agendas.” Politicians and experts have gathered annually in Davos for conferences.

The Great Reset was proposed by the World Economic Forum in June 2020. The plan focuses on global economic equality. It encourages governments to improve fiscal policy, implement overdue reforms and “harness the innovations of the Fourth Industrial Revolution,” according to the organization’s website.

Independent fact-checking organizations have previously debunked claims about Schwab and the Great Reset proposal.

Fact check: Putin’s claims justifying war in Ukraine are baseless, experts say

Our rating: Altered

Based on our research, we rate ALTERED an image claiming to show Schwab saying the internet must be reformed. The World Economic Forum said the claim is false, and the tweet does not exist on the organization’s official Twitter page. There is no evidence Schwab said the internet must be reformed, and the claim echoes previously debunked conspiracy theories about the Great Reset.

Our fact-check sources:

  • Amanda Russo, March 30, Email exchange with USA TODAY
  • World Economic Forum, accessed March 30, Twitter page
  • World Economic Forum, March 22, Twitter page archive
  • World Economic Forum, accessed March 30, Klaus Schwab
  • Getty Images, Sept. 11, 2018, Vietnam-Diplomacy-Summit-WEF
  • World Economic Forum, Sept. 11, 2018, World Economic Forum on ASEAN Overview
  • World Economic Forum, June 3, 2020, Now is the time for a ‘great reset’
  • Associated Press, March 29, World Economic Forum did not tweet ‘internet must be reformed’
  • Reuters, March 28, Fact Check-No evidence World Economic Forum chairman said internet must be reformed
  • FullFact, June 30, 2021, World Economic Forum founder did not write book about ‘organized epidemics’
  • Reuters, Dec. 21, 2021, Fact Check- World Economic Forum letters show 51st Annual Meeting invites
  • World Economic Forum, accessed March 31, Our Mission
  • World Economic Forum, Dec. 2, 2019, Davos Manifesto 1973: A Code of Ethics for Business Leaders

Thank you for supporting our journalism. You can subscribe to our print edition, ad-free app, or electronic newspaper replica here.

Our fact-check work is supported in part by a grant from Facebook.

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