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Yes, US president Kennedy praised ‘debate’ and ‘criticism’

A graphic posted on Instagram shows a quote attributed to former US president John F Kennedy. The quote reads: “Without debate, without criticism, no administration and no country can succeed – and no republic can survive.”

Kennedy was the 35th president of the United States, from 1961 to 1963. He was assassinated in Dallas, in the US state of Texas, on 22 November 1963.

Although the graphic was posted on Instagram, Facebook’s fact-checking system has flagged it as possibly false. Facebook owns Instagram.

Did Kennedy say these words?

1961 speech to journalists

The quote can be found on the John F Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum website. They attribute the quote to a 27 April 1961 address to the American Newspaper Publishers Association.

In an audio recording available on the museum website Kennedy can be heard saying the exact words at 17:01 minutes. – Taryn Willows


For publishers: what to do if your post is rated false

A fact-checker has rated your Facebook or Instagram post as “false”. What should you do? First, don't delete!

Click on our guide for the steps you should follow.

Publishers guide

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Africa Check is a partner in Facebook’s third-party fact-checking programme to help stop the spread of false information on social media.

The content we rate as “false” will be downgraded on Facebook and Instagram. This means fewer people will see it.

You can also help identify false information on Facebook. This guide explains how.

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