A Rumor Calling Pras Michel An ‘FBI Informant’ Is Sweeping Twitter After He Testified In His Money Laundering Trial

Social media is often a flashpoint for misinformation and disinformation, and one of the worst offenders is Twitter. A prime example is a rumor that swept the app calling Fugees member Pras Michel an “FBI informant” after his testimony in the federal money laundering case against him last Tuesday.

<em>Rolling Stone reported that Pras made the unusual move to testify in his own defense after consulting with his lawyers and “the universe” according to Mother Jones reporter Dan Friedman. However, in the report, Rolling Stone noted that Pras had met with FBI agents over the course of the investigation into his association with Malaysian financier Jho Low and whether Pras had helped Low, a foreign national, make campaign contributions illegally in the 2012 election. Low is also under investigation — and currently a fugitive — for allegedly stealing $4.5 billion from Malaysia’s 1MDB sovereign wealth fund.

Obviously, this is a complex case and those “hip-hop Twitter” gossip accounts aren’t exactly legal geniuses. But it doesn’t take a genius to extrapolate “FBI informant” from the report — just a dire misunderstanding of the facts of the case. And once there’s a hot take circulating online, it doesn’t take long for it to start circulating, true or not, as long as it’s inflammatory enough.

In hip-hop, the term “informant” carries a lot of baggage, so of course, “Pras is an informant” is one hell of a takeaway.

In reality, Pras is simply on trial because he allegedly took money from Low and put it into Barack Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign and lobbied Donald Trump’s administration to stop investigating Low and extradite Chinese billionaire Guo Wengui, an associate of Steve Bannon. Michel said he met with FBI agents to discuss sending Guo back to China but denied doing so on behalf of the Chinese government (Guo fled to the US in 2015 to escape fraud, corruption, and rape charges, according to Mother Jones. Guo sought asylum, claiming to be a whistleblower).

The rumor probably won’t stop circulating now, but here’s yet another reminder that Twitter gossip is not a trustworthy source — especially not now that old emerald mine nepo baby Musk is in charge.