Fact check: Image claiming to show Barack Obama’s birth certificate is fake – USA TODAY

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The claim: Image of Barack Obama’s birth certificate shows he was born in Kenya

Fake images of former President Barack Obama’s birth certificate have been circulating on social media for years, and one is again circulating widely.

A  Facebook user shared an image on Sept. 22 of what purports to show Obama’s birth certificate. The birth certificate has the words “Coast Province General Hospital” and “Mombasa, British Protectorate of Kenya” at the top, implying that Obama was born in Kenya.

The image generated more than  70 shares in less than a week. 

“I never posted it as real, but as a meme,” the Facebook user told USA TODAY.

Experts say memes are often used to spread misinformation under the guise of humor or satire. But that doesn’t even apply in this case since the post contained no accompanying text or overlay consistent with a meme.

It’s simply wrong.

The birth certificate shown in the image is fake. Obama was born in Hawaii, not Kenya, according to his actual birth certificate, which was published by the White House during his presidency.

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“Birther” conspiracy theorists have long made false claims about where Obama was born. The false claim surfaced in 2004 and persists even now. 

Obama’s real birth certificate

The birth certificate the Facebook user shared claiming Obama was born in Kenya was the same one tweeted by Malik Obama, the president’s half brother in 2017 with the caption, “Surely. What’s this?”

According to Yahoo News, Malik has a strained relationship with his half brother and also backed now-former President Donald Trump, one of the biggest voices of the “birther” conspiracy that claims Barack Obama isn’t a U.S. citizen. 

But the birth certificate shown here is fake. Obama was born in Honolulu on Aug. 4, 1961, according to his real birth certificate published by the White House. A long-form version of the birth certificate also published by the White House shows the Hawaii Department of Health certifying this is a true copy at the bottom in print.

“In fact, the document posted on the campaign website is what Hawaiians use to get a driver’s license from the state and the document recognized by the Federal Government and the courts for all legal purposes,” Obama adviser Dan Pfeiffer said on the White House website in 2011. “That’s because it is the birth certificate. This is not and should not be an open question.”

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Obama also addressed the publication of his birth certificate in a speech on April 27, 2011.

“We’ve had every official in Hawaii, Democrat and Republican, every news outlet that has investigated this, confirm that, yes, in fact, I was born in Hawaii, August 4, 1961, in Kapiolani Hospital,” Obama said in his speech.

‘Birther’ conspiracy theory questions Obama’s eligibility

Claims about Obama’s place of birth began in 2004 as he became more prominent on the national stage, according to Politico. Political opponents tried to circulate falsehoods about Obama’s heritage and religion.  

When Obama ran for president in 2008, the “birther” conspiracy theorists questioned whether he was eligible to serve.

Some Hillary Clinton supporters questioned Obama’s citizenship during the Democratic campaign, but Clinton herself and her campaign were not a part of these rumors, according to Politico. A National Review blogger asked the Obama campaign to publish his birth certificate to put to rest questions about his origin.

The Obama campaign published his birth certificate on its website, “Fight the Smears,” which debunked false rumors, and gave it to Daily Kos, a liberal website, according to Politico. 

FactCheck.org examined and photographed the original birth certificate and concluded that it met all of the requirements from the State Department for proving U.S. citizenship.

This didn’t stop people from circulating fake birth certificates online.

In 2009, PolitiFact debunked another fake birth certificate, which claimed to come from the Republic of Kenya, dated Feb. 17, 1964. But Kenya only became a Republic in December 1964.

Reuters also debunked a version of the Kenyan birth certificate that resurfaced in 2020.

Our rating: False

Based on our research, we rate FALSE the claim an image of Obama’s birth certificate shows he was born in Kenya. Obama’s real birth certificate shows that he was born in Honolulu on Aug. 4, 1961.

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