Antony Blinken headline on Finnish NATO membership and election result is fake

By: Emmi Kivi
January 25 2024

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Antony Blinken headline on Finnish NATO membership and election result is fake

(Source: X/Screenshot)


The Verdict Fake

Neither Ilta-Sanomat nor any other news outlet reported on the claimed U.S. Secretary of State’s announcement on the Finnish election; it is a fake.

Claim ID 5117db08


Finland will hold its presidential election on January 28. Ahead of the election, social media users shared a screenshot supposedly showing the headline of the Finnish newspaper, Ilta-Sanomat: “The U.S. Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken, announces: ‘If Mika Aaltola is not chosen as the president, Finland’s NATO membership must be reconsidered’” (translated from Finnish). 

Published on X (formerly Twitter), the post caption asks if the headline confirms that Aaltola is a CIA agent. The post garnered over 16,000 views within the first day it was posted. 

However, the news article is fake.

In fact

Upon searching for reporting by Ilta-Sanomat on Antony Blinken, Mika Aaltola, and the Finnish presidential election, Logically Facts did not come across any such reports on the official website or social media channels of Ilta-Sanomat. No other reliable media sources, national or international, have reported anything similar.

Additionally, the name of the U.S. Secretary of State is misspelled as “Anthony,”  not “Antony” in the fake news article. The article also misspelled “inform” in Finnish, suggesting the headline is not authentic. Aaltola is the Director of the Finnish Institute of International Affairs (FIIA); there is no evidence that he is a CIA agent. 

A reverse image search of the screenshot led us to multiple articles dating back to 2022. We found a matching image in a CNN article headlined: “US says Russia plans to manufacture justification for war,” published on February 18, 2022. Accordingly, the image was captured at a U.N. Security Council meeting in Ukraine on February 17.

The screenshot on the left shows the viral image of the fake headline, while image on the right was captured from the 2022 CNN article. (Source: X/CNN/Screenshot/Modified by Logically Facts)

The image is unrelated to the Finnish presidential election. 

Ahead of the upcoming Finnish election, Logically Facts has covered false allegations of misdelivered candidate supporter cards and conspiracies about the U.S.-Finnish military cooperation amid presidential debates.  

Logically Facts has contacted Ilta-Sanomat and the U.S. Secretary of State’s press office for comment. 

The verdict

The news headline is fake; Ilta-Sanomat nor any other credible source reported that the U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken expressed a preference for the presidential candidates nor conditioned Finland’s NATO membership on the election result. The photo in the fake article is from a 2022 U.N. Security Council meeting unrelated to the upcoming Finnish election. Therefore, we have marked the claim as fake.

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Global Fact-Checks Completed

We rely on information to make meaningful decisions that affect our lives, but the nature of the internet means that misinformation reaches more people faster than ever before