Washington DC journalists yesterday fought back against social media rumours that the US capital had experienced a communications “blackout” to cover up violence against protestors.
Amid widespread protests across the US over the death of George Floyd, the hashtag #DCBlackout went viral on Twitter over Sunday night and into Monday.
However, no evidence of any such blackout has emerged, and journalists on the ground in Washington have been forced to rebut the widespread claims.
A lot of people are asking me about a possible #dcblackout. I’ve been out near the White House since 4 am and haven’t experienced any outage. My friend and colleague @ABC7HeatherGraf was covering the DC protests last night and was posting multiple updates. pic.twitter.com/ag1cuY3MOD
— Victoria Sanchez (@VictoriaSanchez) June 1, 2020
Some of my videos and pics being posted by accounts saying they were last before a “#dcblackout” where streams and cells shut down. I didn’t experience anything like that and – though I didn’t try streaming – had no issue with phone as I tweeted and worked until 2:30 am at least
— Hunter Walker (@hunterw) June 1, 2020
And whoever is tweeting about a #DCBlackout is not tweeting accurately. Major and local outlets are reporting, including Washington Post, NBC Washington, Popville, others…
Don’t spread inaccurate news
— Joyce Karam (@Joyce_Karam) June 1, 2020
The unfounded rumours had multiple strands, and claims of when the “blackout” began were inconsistent.
Several accounts appeared to tweet pictures of a large explosion and inferno in the centre of Washington, but other users pointed out that the image was a screenshot from TV political drama Designated Survivor.
— gabi hates cops (@PuffDork) June 1, 2020
Despite the misinformation being challenged by several respected journalists, the term #DCBlackout remained in widespread use across Twitter and Facebook on Monday evening in the US.