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A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Social Media Claims Misrepresent Boston U. Study of What Causes Severity of COVID-19 Strains

Social Media Claims Misrepresent Boston U. Study of What Causes Severity of COVID-19 Strains

To study the role of the spike protein in the severity of COVID-19 illnesses, researchers exposed 10 mice prone to develop severe disease to a hybrid version of the virus. Eight mice died. Social media posts say researchers created a dangerous new variant with an “80 PERCENT Kill Rate,” potentially leaving the false impression that this pertains to humans. Also, the hybrid virus used in the study had a lower mortality rate than the original virus had on mice.

Social Media Claims Misrepresent Election Software CEO’s Arrest

Social Media Claims Misrepresent Election Software CEO’s Arrest

The arrest of a CEO whose company maintained poll worker data for Los Angeles County has sparked a wave of false voter fraud claims. County District Attorney George Gascón has said that the “alleged conduct had no impact on the tabulation of votes and did not alter election results.”

Fetterman’s Tattoos Under Scrutiny in Pennsylvania Senate Race

Fetterman’s Tattoos Under Scrutiny in Pennsylvania Senate Race

John Fetterman, Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor who is running for the U.S. Senate, has tattoos on his arms, some of which memorialize victims of violence. But conservative pundits — including Newt Gingrich — claim, without proof, that his tattoos suggest drug use and ties to a violent street gang.

COVID-19 Vaccine Opponents Misrepresent CDC Webcast on Causes of Blood Clots

COVID-19 Vaccine Opponents Misrepresent CDC Webcast on Causes of Blood Clots

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention hosted an online seminar about the treatment of blood clots, which is expected to grow as the U.S. population ages and the obesity rate increases. But some vaccine opponents misrepresented the webinar to falsely suggest that the projected rise in blood clots is related to the COVID-19 vaccines.

Viral Posts Spin Falsehood Out of Denmark’s COVID-19 Booster Drive

Viral Posts Spin Falsehood Out of Denmark’s COVID-19 Booster Drive

Denmark announced a plan for its fall COVID-19 vaccination drive, saying it will offer omicron-specific booster shots to high-risk individuals, including everyone 50 and over. But U.S.-based misinformation peddlers misleadingly suggest that means the shots are unsafe for those under 50. The Danish Health Authority said that is a misinterpretation.

Commentator Ben Shapiro Didn’t Receive $20K in Federal Loan Forgiveness

Commentator Ben Shapiro Didn’t Receive $20K in Federal Loan Forgiveness

Conservative commentator Ben Shapiro criticized the Biden administration’s decision to forgive some student loan debt. Liberal social media accounts then falsely claimed Shapiro had received a loan of about $20,000 that had been forgiven as part of the federal Paycheck Protection Program. Two other people with the same name had received PPP loans.

Widespread Claims Misrepresent Effectiveness of COVID-19 Vaccines

Widespread Claims Misrepresent Effectiveness of COVID-19 Vaccines

As the virus that causes COVID-19 has evolved, the vaccines have become less effective in preventing symptomatic infection while remaining highly effective in preventing severe disease and death. This shift has been misrepresented by anti-vaccine influencers who falsely claim that it means the vaccines don’t work and have been ineffective all along.

Kathy Griffin Shares Satirical Trump Tweet, But Not Everyone Is in on the Joke

Kathy Griffin Shares Satirical Trump Tweet, But Not Everyone Is in on the Joke

Dozens of former President Donald Trump’s supporters gathered outside his Florida home to protest a recent FBI search of the building. The activity triggered a satirical tweet falsely attributed to Trump’s eldest son, purportedly telling supporters to disperse, and saying, “We have many important people coming through the club and need to keep it clean.”

Social Media, Politicians Make Unfounded Claims of Politicized Mar-a-Lago Search

Social Media, Politicians Make Unfounded Claims of Politicized Mar-a-Lago Search

FBI agents searched the home of former President Donald Trump in Florida on Aug. 8 looking for presidential records and classified materials that were improperly removed from the White House. Social media posts claiming the FBI search was politically motivated have been swirling online, despite there being no evidence that President Joe Biden “had his department of justice’s FBI raid” Trump’s home, as one viral post claimed.