A video depicting a younger Michael Brown (the teen who was shot and killed by a Ferguson police officer sparking riots and protests across the country) beating an elderly man over a stolen backpack has been sweeping social media; but, is it really Michael Brown?

According to Snopes.com, a website that fact checks stories, photos and videos that are circulated across the web, the video is not that of Brown.  Snopes says that not only is the video not Michael Brown; but, the belief that Facebook removed it because 'it doesn't want this story to go public' is also false.

On 9 December 2014, a Facebook user named Shawn Spall posted a video purporting to be footage of Mike Brown (the teenager shot and killed by Officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri) brutally assaulting a much older man over the theft of a backpack. The source of the video was not disclosed by its original poster, and later the same day that user either removed or restricted the video after it had been shared tens of thousands of times.

Snopes goes on to present the facts of the video which brought their investigators to the conclusion that it does not depict Michael Brown.  One key piece of evidence included is that the video was taken at an apartment complex in Dallas, TX., a place where Michael Brown never lived.  Another is the skin tone of the subject in the video as compared to that of Brown, not to mention that Brown at the time the video was taken would have been much taller.

Still, in this age of social media and bloggers, the story has gone viral. It's being spread through Facebook and by bloggers who are presenting it as the 'Michael Brown video they don't want you to see,' as if, the mainstream media or the government is trying to keep people from seeing the video.

The fact is, the story connecting the video to Michael Brown is false and no matter where you stand on the issue, most will agree that spreading false information is not beneficial to either side of a debate.

Here's the message that's being circulated on Facebook:

The gentle GIANT Yea?

Attached is a video taken from a cell phone, showing how Michael Brown.....(yes, the one and the same)....treats a senior black male. This 300 lb. young boy (that's what media calls him) is the same Michael Brown that attempted to take a gun away from a police officer and paid with his life. Here is the fellow that all of the riots are about. Videos don't lie. You will not see this in the media. Pass this around so the truth can be known. It needs to be seen!

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know, the Grand Jury got it

Read the complete 'fact check' story from Snopes here.

Also, consider these websites to fact check a story before you share it in order to make sure the news you're spreading is real.

Snopes  - Snopes fact checks everything from celebrity and political stories to urban legends. 

Fact Check.org - A Project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center which focuses on politics and public policy makers. 

Who What When - WhoWhatWhen is a database of key people and events from 1000 A.D. to the present. Create graphic timelines of periods in history and of the lives of individuals.

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