In an apparent attempt to bolster its public image, the FBI tweeted on X about Martin Luther King Jr., portraying the agency’s relationship with the civil rights leader in positive terms. However, the agency was quickly fact-checked, with Community Notes pointing out the FBI’s history of surveillance, attempts to discredit King, and alleged involvement in his assassination.
The FBI’s campaign against King included extensive surveillance, wiretapping, and attempts to spread negative information about him. They even sent King an anonymous letter, along with recordings of his extramarital affairs, urging him to commit suicide. Film director Sam Pollard suggested that the agency’s surveillance was so extensive that it would be implausible for them not to have known about a plot to assassinate King.
X users criticized the FBI’s attempt to depict their support of King as a life-long mission, given their history of antagonism towards the civil rights leader. Many expressed disbelief at the agency’s tweet, with some highlighting the irony of a government agency being fact-checked in real-time by regular people on a social media platform.
In addition to their efforts to discredit King, the FBI also attempted to control the narrative against him by influencing the media and public opinion. Despite the agency’s campaign, King’s influence and impact on the civil rights movement continued to grow. It was only after his assassination that the true extent of the FBI’s campaign against him became public knowledge.