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Fact check: False claim that a NASA spokesperson admitted alien civilizations exist – USA TODAY


For years, NASA has searched for life beyond Earth. Some social media users claim the agency recently announced its success with the mission.
A Facebook post shared April 20 includes a link to a 2022 article with the headline “NASA announces communication with 4 alien races.”
The post caption reads: “NASA spokeswoman Trish Chamberson has publicly acknowledged the existence of alien civilizations, noting that the state agency is currently in contact with four alien races,”
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The post generated over 7,000 interactions and 1,400 shares in less than a week. Similar posts have spread widely on Facebook.
But a NASA spokesperson told USA TODAY the claim is false. The agency has not made a public announcement of that sort. The claim stems from a 2016 satirical article.
USA TODAY reached out to the social media users who shared the claim for comment.
There is no truth to the claim, NASA spokesperson Cheryl Warner told USA TODAY in an email.
“We do not have a spokesperson named Trish Chamberson, and to date, NASA has yet to find any credible evidence of extraterrestrial life,” Warner said. 
USA TODAY did not find any press releases on NASA’s website or credible news reports that indicate NASA has made contact with aliens. 
The NASA claim is a rewrite of an Aug. 26, 2016, article from Waterford Whispers News. The site’s disclaimer page says it is a “is a satirical newspaper” that uses “invented names in all its stories.” 
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However, the new version of this story contains no such disclaimer and is being shared on social media as fact.
This is an example of “stolen satire,” in which something published and labeled as satire is reposted in a way that makes it appear to be legitimate news. As a result, viewers of the second-generation post are misled, as was the case here. 
Based on our research, we rate FALSE the claim that NASA has publicly acknowledged alien civilizations exist. The claim originated from a satirical website. NASA has not made contact with alien civilizations to date.
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