US President Joe Biden prepares to sign executive orders after speaking about climate change in the State Dining Room of the White House on January 27, 2021 in Washington, DC (Anna Moneymaker-Pool/Getty Images/AFP) (AFP / Pool)

Viral video falsely claims US President Biden signed blank executive orders

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A video has been viewed tens of thousands of times on Facebook, TikTok and other platforms alongside a claim it shows US President Joe Biden signing blank executive orders. The claim is false; while the overexposed lighting of the footage appears to show white papers, other video and photos from the signing ceremony clearly show the documents were not blank.

The video has been viewed more than 37,000 times since it was uploaded to YouTube on January 24, 2021.

Screenshot of misleading post taken on February 3, 2021

The video shows US President Joe Biden signing papers at a desk, as Vice President Kamala Harris and Biden's top advisor on Covid-19, Anthony Fauci stand behind him. 

“There is nothing on those papers!” claims a woman narrating the video. “Fake president, fake executive orders.”

She also suggests the signing ceremony did not happen at the White House, stating “that don't even look like the White House to me (sic).”

Other YouTube users also appeared to believe the executive orders were blank, with comments including “Fake president signing fake executive orders, what a surprise” and “He signs the paper and they write the orders afterwards”.

A selection of screenshots, taken on February 2, 2021, under the misleading Facebook post.

The video was also published alongside similar claims on FacebookTwitter, TikTokReddit and Weibo.

Far-right media personality Angela Stanton King, who has promoted conspiracy theories, also tweeted the video in a post viewed more than 70,000 times. 

However, the claim that Biden was signing blank executive orders is false.

The video shows Biden signing several executive orders on January 21, 2021 related to US efforts to combat the pandemic.

Footage of the signing ceremony was published on The White House’s official YouTube page. 

While the executive orders visible in the footage circulating on social media do appear to be blank, this is due to overexposed lighting. Footage shot from other angles clearly shows that the executive orders were not blank.  

A video of the signing ceremony published by British newspaper The Telegraph here shows text on the document, magnified below by AFP. 

A screenshot of the news report from The Telegram, and zoomed in by AFP.

The text is also visible in The Telegraph’s video at the 19:14 mark.

A screenshot of the news report from The Telegram.

AFP reported on the executive orders being signed and the White House published the text of the documents.

The claim that the signing ceremony did not take place in the White House is also false. 

AFP photographer Mandel Ngan documented the ceremony inside the White House’s State Dining Room and published various photos of the event. Two of the photos, one of which clearly shows text on an executive order, can be seen below.

Photos from AFP of the signing ceremony in the State Dining Room in the White House.

The photos are captioned: “US President Joe Biden signs executive orders as part of the Covid-19 response in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, DC, on January 21, 2021.”