COVID-19 vaccines have been found to be safe and effective in trials and real-world conditions. Yet an online video baselessly claims a French life insurer refused to pay benefits for a man who died after receiving the vaccine because the insurer deemed it “a medical experiment.” It also falsely claims that the same has happened in the U.S.
A bill introduced in the North Carolina House of Representatives last year said anyone getting an abortion should be “held accountable” for murder. The bill received little support and did not advance. But social media posts misleadingly claimed the state is considering a proposal that would “make it legal to murder a pregnant woman” trying to get an abortion.
There are life-threatening complications in which abortion is medically necessary, and social media posts claiming otherwise are incorrect, physicians said. “In some situations, abortion is the only medical intervention that can preserve a patient’s health,” the president of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists told us.
A fund backed by Bill Gates has invested in a startup working to develop lab-manufactured breast milk, but it won’t reach the market for several years. Yet, social media posts make baseless claims that Gates is behind the current baby formula shortage — which stems from supply-chain issues and the shutdown at a major manufacturing plant.
Russian planes bombed a hospital in Mariupol, Ukraine, on March 9, killing three people and injuring at least 17, including two pregnant women seen in photos shared around the world. Social media posts falsely claimed one woman “posed” as the two women. One of the women died of her injuries, along with her baby; the other gave birth to a daughter.
A resolution introduced in the Wisconsin Assembly to reverse the state’s 2020 presidential electoral votes for President Joe Biden was referred to the Rules Committee on Jan. 25. The committee chair tweeted that the resolution was “illegal” and would not advance. But conservative websites falsely reported the assembly passed the resolution.
Climate change and other human-caused factors continue to put many species at risk, according to conservation groups. But a social media post misleadingly claims polar bears, whales and koala populations are “recovered” or increasing. All three species remain critically endangered or vulnerable, the International Union for Conservation of Nature says.
More than 70% of Japan’s population has received the COVID-19 vaccines, and the government is moving ahead with a booster shot in December. But a conservative radio host in the U.S. falsely claimed, “Japan drops vax rollout, goes to Ivermectin.” Japan hasn’t stopped its vaccine program and hasn’t approved ivermectin as a COVID-19 treatment.
U.S. ports slowed by pandemic-induced labor and equipment shortages cannot keep up with Americans’ demand for imported goods, resulting in cargo ship backups on both coasts. But social media posts, without citing evidence, falsely claim the Biden administration is purposely “orchestrating” product shortages.