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A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Businessman’s Social Media Post Distorts Facts on Definition of a Pandemic

Businessman’s Social Media Post Distorts Facts on Definition of a Pandemic

A businessman’s post on Instagram and Facebook wrongly claims that the U.S. government “changed the definition of pandemic” in 2004, suggesting that COVID-19 would not have qualified under the old definition. There’s no evidence for those claims — and COVID-19 is by all means a pandemic.

Photo Shows 2018 France World Cup Celebration, Not Vaccine Protest

Photo Shows 2018 France World Cup Celebration, Not Vaccine Protest

Social media posts are misrepresenting an old photo from France by suggesting the sea of people in the streets shows “[p]eople are waking up against vaccine tyranny.” The photo actually shows a celebration in Paris after France won the 2018 World Cup.

Flawed Paper on COVID-19 Vaccines, Deaths Spreads Widely Before Retraction

Flawed Paper on COVID-19 Vaccines, Deaths Spreads Widely Before Retraction

The COVID-19 vaccines have been shown in trials and real-world application to be safe and effective. But a paper shared widely online claimed that vaccines cause two deaths for every three lives saved. Experts say the analysis misinterpreted data and was flawed — and it has now been retracted by the journal that published it.

Social Media Posts Mislead on Harris Border Trip

Social Media Posts Mislead on Harris Border Trip

Some popular online posts suggest that Vice President Kamala Harris’ trip to El Paso is “over 1000 miles away” from the “border crisis.” It’s true that other areas — including the Rio Grande Valley — are experiencing higher levels of border activity, as critics have noted, but El Paso is a hotspot for illegal immigration.

Research Rebuts Claims Linking COVID-19 Vaccines to Male Infertility

Research Rebuts Claims Linking COVID-19 Vaccines to Male Infertility

A new study found there was no negative effect on sperm levels in men after receiving the COVID-19 vaccines, undercutting suggestions that the shots affect male fertility. But social media posts have made the baseless claim that vaccinated men “are effectively sterile.”

Viral Video Misleadingly Questions Safety of Nasal Swabs

Viral Video Misleadingly Questions Safety of Nasal Swabs

A chemical widely used to sterilize medical devices is also used for nasal swabs in COVID-19 testing. But a viral video misleadingly suggests that the swabs are dangerous — saying that the chemical causes cancer and can alter DNA. Experts say the chemical’s use in this context does not pose a threat to human health.

Viral Posts, Pundits Distort Fauci Emails

Viral Posts, Pundits Distort Fauci Emails

Thousands of pages of redacted emails to and from Dr. Anthony Fauci are now publicly available, thanks to journalists’ Freedom of Information Act requests. Some of those messages have been distorted in viral posts, particularly about face masks, the origins of the coronavirus and the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine.

Understanding Pennsylvania’s Proposed Bill on Handling Fetal Remains

Understanding Pennsylvania’s Proposed Bill on Handling Fetal Remains

Q: Did Pennsylvania lawmakers vote to “fine” women who miscarry? 

A: No. But a bill proposes to mandate that health care providers bury or cremate fetal remains, regardless of when or how the pregnancy ends. Experts say such requirements could translate to additional costs for women or their insurers.

Story Twists Facts on Diagnosing Breakthrough COVID-19 Cases

Story Twists Facts on Diagnosing Breakthrough COVID-19 Cases

A viral headline shared on social media falsely asserts that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention changed testing thresholds to “virtually eliminate” COVID-19 cases among vaccinated individuals. That’s wrong. The threshold in question simply applies to whether or not there is enough virus present in a sample for further analysis.

Video Doesn’t Prove Capitol Police Allowed Jan. 6 Protesters to Enter Capitol

Video Doesn’t Prove Capitol Police Allowed Jan. 6 Protesters to Enter Capitol

More than 400 people have been charged in relation to the Jan. 6 events at the U.S. Capitol, and there is ample evidence that many protesters defied and assaulted Capitol Police officers that day. Yet viral social media posts are falsely claiming a video clip proves that “Capitol Police gave protesters OK” to enter the building. The video clip does not depict that.