America wasn’t ‘sold to five billionaires’ in 1927

16 June 2024
What was claimed

A 1927 news article shows America was sold to five billionaires.

Our verdict

This is not a real news article. It was published by satirical outlet The Onion in 2005 and has been shared out of context.

An article allegedly from 1927, claiming that America was sold to five billionaires, has been shared out of context on Facebook. But the ‘article’ comes from satirical publisher The Onion.

Social media posts show an image of an unnamed newspaper with the caption: “This is a 1927 News Article showing America was sold to 5 Billionaires. The Rothschild’s, Rockefellers, DuPont’s, Harriman’s and Warburg’s [sic]”. 

The ‘newspaper’ features an article with the headline “BILLIONAIRES BUY U.S. FROM MILLIONAIRES: Future of Nation in Yet Wealthier Hands” and includes an image of American business magnate John D. Rockefeller, who founded the Standard Oil Company. 

A reverse image search shows the image of the article was published on the website of satirical news outlet, The Onion, in 2005. The image on Facebook has been cropped to remove the reference to The Onion. 

Versions of this post have appeared on social media since at least 2015 and have previously been debunked by other fact checkers such as Reuters

The Rockerfeller family are often the subject of false claims online. We’ve previously written about claims that they wrote a “secret covenant” that proves the public is being controlled by an elite class and that Facebook founder and Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg is the grandson of David Rockefeller.

False headlines or pictures from satirical works can be screenshotted and shared without context, potentially leading some people to believe the claims they are seeing in isolation are true. 

It can be difficult to tell immediately whether or not a claim online is trustworthy, especially when information can so easily be taken out of context. For tips on how to verify content, visit our fact checking toolkit.

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