Two Missouri state senators participated in a fundraising event that included a demonstration of flamethrowers that were up for auction. Videos shared on Instagram falsely claimed to show the senators engaged in a “book burning.” But only empty boxes, not books, were being torched.
Flu shots and vaccines that protect children against measles, mumps and rubella have been effective in preventing illness, serious disease and death. But a meme has been circulating with the false suggestion that those vaccines are ineffective. Actually, they’ve saved millions of lives and have eliminated both measles and rubella in the U.S.
Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director-general of the World Health Organization, is an advocate for equitable distribution of the COVID-19 vaccines in countries around the globe. But a social media post misleadingly claims, “Tedros says he isnt vaccinated.” Tedros shared a tweet on May 12, 2021 showing himself receiving a COVID-19 vaccine.
To avoid damage from heavy rains, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials have opened floodgates along Arizona’s border fencing during monsoon season since 2009. But social media users, including Sen. Ted Cruz, shared posts with the misleading claim that the Biden administration opened the gates “by design” to allow illegal immigration.
After a fatal shooting at the University of North Carolina, Fox News displayed a photo of the suspect with this caption: “UNC Police Release Picture of Person of Interest.” But an altered screenshot of the news report circulating online shows this caption under the photo: “Shooter Described as ‘Mostly White Asian Male.'” A Fox News spokesperson called that caption a “fake.”
Democrats tend to win in densely populated counties, while Republicans win more sparse, rural counties. In 2020, the counties won by President Joe Biden had 67 million more residents than counties won by former President Donald Trump. Yet a social media post falsely asserts that because Biden won with fewer counties than Trump, “something isn’t adding up.”
The Federal Emergency Management Agency operates a Disaster Recovery Center on Maui and has approved $7 million in assistance to thousands of wildfire survivors. Online videos, however, are sharing a fabricated tale about FEMA’s operations, including a “shootout” with U.S. Marines. The bogus story originated on a satirical website.
The White House declared the site of the Maui wildfires a disaster area, and the Department of Defense has provided more than 400 troops, air support and other resources in firefighting and recovery efforts. Yet posts on Instagram misrepresent the federal response and one falsely claimed “the military is standing down.”