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A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Social Media Posts Misrepresent U.S.-Ukraine Threat Reduction Program

Social Media Posts Misrepresent U.S.-Ukraine Threat Reduction Program

The U.S. Department of Defense’s Biological Threat Reduction Program has provided technical support to improve and protect Ukraine’s public health laboratories. Social media posts, however, falsely claim the program created “bioweapons labs” that are being targeted by Russian forces as part of the invasion of Ukraine.

Viral Post Makes False Claim About Medicare Coverage of Dental Work

Viral Post Makes False Claim About Medicare Coverage of Dental Work

Democrats tried but failed to expand Medicare coverage to include dental benefits in the Build Back Better bill. Yet a Facebook post tells seniors they have until Jan. 31 to apply for “free dental work” under a recently announced Medicare “stimulus.” There is no such program, and traditional Medicare doesn’t cover dental work except in rare circumstances.

Post Makes Unfounded Claims About Omicron ‘Symptoms’ and COVID-19 Vaccines

Post Makes Unfounded Claims About Omicron ‘Symptoms’ and COVID-19 Vaccines

Scientists are still learning about the omicron variant’s ability to spread or cause severe illness and the effectiveness of the current COVID-19 vaccines in fighting it. But a Facebook post misleadingly claims to list seven “symptoms” of the new variant, then suggests they are caused by the vaccines. The list actually refers to complications of COVID-19. Two of the listed conditions are rare adverse events associated with the vaccines.

Facebook Post Spreads Bogus Claim About ‘Detox’ After Vaccination

Facebook Post Spreads Bogus Claim About ‘Detox’ After Vaccination

A vaccination can’t be reversed through any “detox” process, medical experts say. Yet, a social media post is spreading the false claim that a bath with borax can “get rid” of a COVID-19 vaccine. The bath may remove some water from the body, but not the molecules associated with vaccines, a toxicologist told us.

Exposing the Holes in a California Recall Election Conspiracy Theory

Exposing the Holes in a California Recall Election Conspiracy Theory

Videos on social media suggest that holes in the return envelopes being used for mail-in ballots in California were designed to allow election officials to peek inside and toss out ballots in favor of recalling Gov. Gavin Newsom. Officials say the holes serve two useful purposes, including helping the vision impaired to sign the ballot envelope in private. 

Post Offers Misleading Advice on Mandatory Vaccines and Unemployment Benefits

Post Offers Misleading Advice on Mandatory Vaccines and Unemployment Benefits

As some companies mandate COVID-19 vaccines for employees, a social media post misleadingly tells workers who don’t want the vaccine that they can collect unemployment benefits if they are fired. In most states, workers fired for violating company policy aimed at workplace safety are not entitled to unemployment benefits.

Facebook Post Misleads on H.R. 1’s Proposal on Voter Rolls

Facebook Post Misleads on H.R. 1’s Proposal on Voter Rolls

Democrats say their bill, H.R. 1, the For the People Act, would expand voter access in federal elections. But a Facebook post falsely claims the legislation would prevent the removal of dead people from voter rolls. The bill doesn’t say that, and existing federal legislation requires states to remove names of the deceased from voting lists.

Insurance Companies Provide Coverage After COVID-19 Vaccination

Insurance Companies Provide Coverage After COVID-19 Vaccination

Insurance companies do not deny claims when someone dies after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine, according to the American Council of Life Insurers. But a viral social media post has falsely claimed that beneficiaries of a person who dies after getting the vaccine cannot collect life insurance payments.

Post Misleads on Japan’s Policy for Donating Blood After COVID-19 Vaccination

Post Misleads on Japan’s Policy for Donating Blood After COVID-19 Vaccination

Japan only recently adopted guidelines for accepting blood donations from those who have received COVID-19 vaccines. The guidelines are intended to give donors time to get over any side effects from the vaccine. Without providing that context, a social media post misleadingly claims Japan is “refusing” blood donations from vaccinated people.