​VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Pentagon to bomb man-made islands in South China Sea FAKE NEWS

A story with a fake headline claiming the U.S Department of Defense, also referred to as the Pentagon, will destroy one of China's artificial islands in the South China Sea was published June 3 by webph.info.

Bearing the headline "BREAKING:PENTAGON WAWA$AKlN ANG ARTIFICIAL ISLAND PANOORIN (Breaking: Pentagon to destroy artificial island WATCH)!," the website uploads a CNN Philippines news report and distorts a statement made by United States Joint Staff director Lt. Gen. Kenneth McKenzie Jr. during a May 31 press briefing at the Pentagon in Virginia.

While discussing the militarization in the South China Sea, McKenzie, in response to a question about the United States' ability to "blow apart" the man-made islands in the disputed waters, said: “I would just tell you that the United States military has had a lot of experience in the Western Pacific, taking down small islands."

He later clarified that he was not sending a message to China but was merely stating a "historical fact."

"We have a lot of experience, in the Second World War, taking down small islands that are isolated. So... that's a core competency of the U.S. military that we've done before," McKenzie added.

Webph.info published the story about a week after the U.S. conducted freedom of navigation operations in the South China Sea, parts of which are being claimed by Brunei, Malaysia, Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan.

The fake story, which could have reached more than 1.3 million people, carried as its content a copied 10-minute clip of a 30-minute June 1 newscast by CNN Philippines that also does not reflect the headline's claim.

Traffic to the story was largely generated from social media by Facebook pages We Support Duterte Administration, and Marcos Loyalist and BongBong Marcos United. Webph.info was created a day before it published the story; Youtube channel Tokhang TV that uploaded the CNN clip in November 2016.


U.S. Department of Defense Press Briefing by Pentagon Chief Spokesperson Dana W. White and Joint Staff Director Lt. Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie, Jr. May 31, 2018

(Editor's Note: VERA Files has partnered with Facebook to fight the spread of disinformation. Find out more about this partnership and our methodology.)

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