Report of former Twitter CEO's arrest is fabricated

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An article shared on social media claims the FBI arrested former Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal for possession of child pornography. This is false; there is no record of Agrawal's detention in the US state of California, where he lives and was allegedly detained, and the story comes from a website that says it publishes satire.

"Parag Agrawal, the former CEO of Twitter, has been arrested for possession of child pornography after a tip off from Elon Musk," says a December 23, 2022 article from the Vancouver Times, a website AFP has previously fact-checked for publishing false information.

The story says Agrawal "was arrested at his home in California by the FBI. His lawyer has stated to the Vancouver Times that he plans on pleading not guilty. He is expected to be released on bail."

Screenshot from the Vancouver Times taken December 28, 2022

The article was shared widely on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and TikTok. But the website that published the piece says it shares inaccurate reports for the purpose of "satire."

"We write satirical stories about issues that affect conservatives," the Vancouver Times says.

A disclaimer on the website adds: "All information in the Service is provided 'as is,' with no guarantee of completeness, accuracy, timeliness or of the results obtained from the use of this information."

AFP found no report of Agrawal's supposed arrest from the FBI offices in San Francisco or Los Angeles, or from any news outlet. The FBI declined to comment.

India-born Agrawal was fired in October 2022 along with thousands of other Twitter employees and executives after billionaire Elon Musk bought the company in a private sale.

AFP has debunked other false arrest reports about well-known individuals here and here.