Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) is facing plenty of criticism this week after his state experienced historic winter storms earlier this month.
Cruz and his family left the state for a Cancun vacation as power outages left millions of Texans freezing in their own homes. He later placed the blame for the trip on his daughters, and leaked text messages later revealed he was being untruthful when he implied the trip had been planned ahead of time.
To make matters worse for Cruz, tweets went viral claiming that he had said in 2016 that he would only “believe in climate change when Texas freezes over.”
While Cruz will likely face questions about his Cancun vacation for years to come, the viral tweets about climate change aren’t true.
The News Literacy Project, Snopes and CNN have all independently verified that Cruz’s “when Texas freezes over” tweet is a fake — photoshopped by another social media user to appear as if the message came from Cruz.
There is no record that Cruz tweeted that message on Sept. 8, 2016, as the viral claims allege. Even if Cruz had since deleted the tweet, there is no record of it in the Internet Archive.
Even though Cruz never made such claims, his “tweet” has spread through the internet like wildfire. Snopes even notes that the quote, attributed to Cruz, has crossed platforms and gone viral on other social media sites, like Facebook and Reddit.
To avoid spreading misinformation on Twitter in the future, take these steps:
- Be suspicious of screenshots — they’re easy to fabricate. Only retweet messages that include a link back to the tweet itself.
- Double-check. Search the phrase on Twitter, or head to the person’s account directly to make sure it’s a real tweet.
- Be suspicious of tweets that are “too perfect” to be real. Oftentimes, they are.