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A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Unfounded Claims About Frequency and Causes of Food Plant Fires

Unfounded Claims About Frequency and Causes of Food Plant Fires

Data on the number fires at food-processing plants in 2022 “does not signal anything out of the ordinary,” according to the National Fire Protection Association. Despite no evidence of foul play, unfounded rumors from conservative pundits suggest a rash of “mysterious fires” may be part of a plan to disrupt the food supply.

COVID-19 Is Caused by a Virus, Not Snake Venom

COVID-19 Is Caused by a Virus, Not Snake Venom

The COVID-19 pandemic was caused by a novel coronavirus, first isolated in January 2020. But a viral video has been spreading a conspiracy theory that the pandemic has actually been a plot to poison people with snake venom.

Jan. 6 Conspiracy Theory Centers on Baseless Claim About Ray Epps

Jan. 6 Conspiracy Theory Centers on Baseless Claim About Ray Epps

James Ray Epps was at the Capitol riot on Jan. 6, 2021. But there is no evidence that he was an FBI plant assigned to instigate the riot, as a conspiracy theory — embraced by at least two members of Congress — claims. There is evidence, however, that Epps once held a leadership role in the Oath Keepers, some of whose members have been charged in the attack.

Health Sensors Misconstrued as Government Tracking ‘Microchips’

Health Sensors Misconstrued as Government Tracking ‘Microchips’

A digital device company is developing gel sensors that would monitor the wearer’s health and could potentially help to detect future outbreaks of disease. But conspiracy theorists are falsely claiming that the sensors are actually COVID-19-detecting microchips that will be used to track people’s movements.

Spoof Video Furthers Microchip Conspiracy Theory

Spoof Video Furthers Microchip Conspiracy Theory

A list of the ingredients used in COVID-19 vaccines is publicly available, and the ingredients don’t include microchips. Yet claims advancing conspiracy theories that they do continue to flourish. A recent video purports to show a microchip reader for pets detecting a chip in a vaccinated person’s arm — but the original video was created as a joke.

Viral Quote About Elections Misattributed to Trey Gowdy

Viral Quote About Elections Misattributed to Trey Gowdy

A viral Facebook post falsely attributes claims of widespread voter fraud and “treasonous acts” during the 2020 election to former Rep. Trey Gowdy. But he told us the statement “wasn’t from me.” We tracked the comments to a retired general who has spread unfounded conspiracy theories.

COVID-19 Vaccines Don’t Have Patient-Tracking Devices

COVID-19 Vaccines Don’t Have Patient-Tracking Devices

A video circulating on social media falsely claims that vaccines for COVID-19 have a microchip that “tracks the location of the patient.” The chip, which is not currently in use, would be attached to the end of a plastic vial and provide information only about the vaccine dose. It cannot track people.

Video Doesn’t Show Election Fraud in Georgia

Video Doesn’t Show Election Fraud in Georgia

Conspiracy theorists falsely claimed that a video of an election worker during the Georgia machine recount revealed fraud in the 2020 election. All it showed was an election worker performing a routine part of the process, according to election officials.