On December 1 2020, a fabricated tweet attributed to Neera Tanden began circulating, which read, “Hitler was certainly controversial but nobody gives him proper credit for fighting to the death against Communism”:
— nancy pelosi’s sentient $12K fridge👔🕊🧵🥭🇵🇸 (@fOrGiVeNcHy) December 2, 2020
Other posts around the same time also referenced or paraphrased the purported tweet:
"Hitler was certainly controversial but" – an actual Neera Tanden quote
— Dylan 🕊 (@SEVENKlTTENS) December 2, 2020
It was also shared to Reddit on December 2 2020:
In the comments of many variations and iterations, Twitter users pointed out that even if Tanden had tweeted and later deleted a tweet about Adolf Hitler not receiving “proper credit” for fighting Communism, it would have likely drawn significant engagement at the time of publication — which was purportedly August 22 2016. Moreover, deleting a tweet does not delete tweets replying to it sent from other users accounts — and it was further unrealistic that the attributed commentary would not draw significant complaints at that time, particularly given the fact that Tanden was working on Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign in August 2016.
We did a search of Twitter for replies to Tanden mentioning Hitler from August 20 through August 27 2020. No results were returned for that timeframe, a result suggestive of a fabricated tweet.
Comments responding to the iteration from @JoyOBailey1 demonstrated the ease with which someone could quickly create a screenshot of a fake tweet, attributing the “Hitler” comment to her instead of Tanden:
— Maxine Baptiste (@brownsugar7878) December 2, 2020
Multiple Twitter accounts shared and attributed an implausibly controversial tweet to Neera Tanden (“Hitler was certainly controversial but nobody gives him proper credit for fighting to the death against Communism”), and the same exact screenshot rapidly spread among Twitter users and onto Reddit. Not only was there no evidence the tweet was authentic (and there would have been Twitter “residue” even if the tweet had been deleted), several factors — uniform screenshots with no variation between them, no link to older iterations, an absence of replies, and no earlier controversy associated with the purported commentary despite Tanden’s high-profile work and resulting scrutiny at that time — indicated the screenshot was fabricated on or around December 1 2020.