The Philippines' "Queen of All Media" is very much alive.
At least nine netizens published on Facebook (FB) this month fake posts claiming Queen Elizabeth II praised President Rodrigo Duterte’s leadership skills, and that she told United States President Donald Trump to follow in his footsteps.
The netizens all uploaded the same material from Dec. 18 to 28: a fabricated screenshot of a news report where she supposedly congratulated Duterte for his anti-drugs campaign and told world leaders, including Trump, to “emulate” him. It bore the headline, “The Iron Lady advice to the most powerful man in the world.” It also featured a December 2017 Getty Images photo of the queen.
Even the reference to the Queen as the Iron Lady is incorrect. The title is associated with the late British prime minister Margaret Thatcher, the first woman to hold that post. She was in power for more than a decade.
Facebook detected the online posts making the rounds by the thousands in the past 24 hours, reaching between 500 to over 100,000 views each.
There are no official records nor news reports of the British monarch praising Duterte and advising Trump to “emulate” him. The story also claimed the queen made the comment in a speech about the Catalonia crisis.
There are no reports of Queen Elizabeth speaking about the crisis in Spain. Doing so would have violated her mandate to maintain neutrality on political matters. A portion about the queen’s role indicated in the Royal Family’s website reads, “As Head of State The Queen has to remain strictly neutral with respect to political matters.”
Media outlets only reported an interaction between the two heads of state in September 2018, when the queen sent Duterte a letter offering her condolences for the victims of Typhoon Ompong (international name: Mangkhut).
The fake report has been circulating on the web for over two years now, and had been previously fact-checked by Agence-France Presse, Rappler, and Meme Buster -- which first flagged it in November 2017. The fabricated story was revived this December as Queen Elizabeth delivered her annual holiday address on Christmas Day.
The fake FB posts were shared collectively by over 2,500 people. A look at the posts’ most recent comments show several netizens calling it “fake,” although many others also praised Duterte and questioned why local media has not reported on the queen’s supposed remark about him.