An international judicial panel working with the United Nations’ AIDS agency issued recommendations in March on laws related to sexual conduct, including consensual sex between adolescents. Social media posts misrepresented the recommendations, with one falsely claiming, “UN wants to decriminalize sex between minors and adults.”
Russia developed a COVID-19 vaccine, Sputnik V, in 2020. President Vladimir Putin has said he received three doses of the vaccine, and the government continues to urge Russians to get vaccinated against the disease. But social media posts falsely claimed Putin “ordered the destruction of all” COVID-19 vaccine stockpiles in Russia.
Responding to a question on what NATO could do to deter Russia’s nuclear threat, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said NATO and its allies should use “preventive actions” against Russia. But the Kremlin and social media posts have misquoted Zelensky, claiming he referred to nuclear strikes when he was referring to economic sanctions against Russia.
President Joe Biden announced on Jan. 25 that the U.S. would provide Ukraine with 31 tanks. After the announcement, a meme on social media misquoted Biden’s remarks from March 2022, suggesting he said that sending tanks to Ukraine would cause World War III. Biden said sending weapons “with American pilots and American crews” would cause a world war.
China held live-fire military drills around Taiwan as a response to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to the island on Aug. 2. But a video posted on social media made unfounded claims that China had attacked a Taiwanese armory. An expert told us that the claim was false and a majority of the video’s footage did not appear to be from the week of Pelosi’s visit.
The U.S. announced it had conducted a drone strike on July 31 killing al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri in Kabul. But social media posts make unfounded claims that al-Zawahiri had died in 2020 from asthma. The posts cite an unconfirmed story in a British tabloid, which reported a year later that al-Zawahiri was still alive.