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A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Businessman’s Social Media Post Distorts Facts on Definition of a Pandemic

Businessman’s Social Media Post Distorts Facts on Definition of a Pandemic

A businessman’s post on Instagram and Facebook wrongly claims that the U.S. government “changed the definition of pandemic” in 2004, suggesting that COVID-19 would not have qualified under the old definition. There’s no evidence for those claims — and COVID-19 is by all means a pandemic.

Photo Shows 2018 France World Cup Celebration, Not Vaccine Protest

Photo Shows 2018 France World Cup Celebration, Not Vaccine Protest

Social media posts are misrepresenting an old photo from France by suggesting the sea of people in the streets shows “[p]eople are waking up against vaccine tyranny.” The photo actually shows a celebration in Paris after France won the 2018 World Cup.

Research Rebuts Claims Linking COVID-19 Vaccines to Male Infertility

Research Rebuts Claims Linking COVID-19 Vaccines to Male Infertility

A new study found there was no negative effect on sperm levels in men after receiving the COVID-19 vaccines, undercutting suggestions that the shots affect male fertility. But social media posts have made the baseless claim that vaccinated men “are effectively sterile.”

Viral Video Misleadingly Questions Safety of Nasal Swabs

Viral Video Misleadingly Questions Safety of Nasal Swabs

A chemical widely used to sterilize medical devices is also used for nasal swabs in COVID-19 testing. But a viral video misleadingly suggests that the swabs are dangerous — saying that the chemical causes cancer and can alter DNA. Experts say the chemical’s use in this context does not pose a threat to human health.

Story Twists Facts on Diagnosing Breakthrough COVID-19 Cases

Story Twists Facts on Diagnosing Breakthrough COVID-19 Cases

A viral headline shared on social media falsely asserts that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention changed testing thresholds to “virtually eliminate” COVID-19 cases among vaccinated individuals. That’s wrong. The threshold in question simply applies to whether or not there is enough virus present in a sample for further analysis.

Magnet Videos Refuel Bogus Claim of Vaccine Microchips

Magnet Videos Refuel Bogus Claim of Vaccine Microchips

The ingredients in the COVID-19 vaccines authorized for use in the U.S. are publicly available. Yet a false claim that the vaccines contain microchips is receiving renewed attention through a spate of videos of people claiming that magnets stick to their arms after vaccination. Experts say none of the ingredients would cause this supposed effect.

Viral Post Misleads on COVID-19 Death Reporting, Vaccine Monitoring

Viral Post Misleads on COVID-19 Death Reporting, Vaccine Monitoring

A tweet that migrated across social media platforms falsely suggests that any deaths in the 20 days following positive COVID-19 tests are to be attributed to the disease, “no matter what other factors were involved.” There is no such policy. And there’s also no evidence for the post’s suggestion that the vaccines are causing deaths that are being ignored.

Stories Falsely Cite ‘Stanford Study’ to Misinform on Face Masks

Stories Falsely Cite ‘Stanford Study’ to Misinform on Face Masks

Stanford Medicine says it “strongly supports the use of face masks to control the spread of COVID-19.” Yet viral stories falsely claim a “Stanford study” showed that face masks are unsafe and ineffective against COVID-19. The paper is a hypothesis, not a study, from someone with no current affiliation with Stanford. Update: The paper was retracted.

Irish Professor Makes Unfounded Claims About Long-Term Effects of mRNA Vaccines

Irish Professor Makes Unfounded Claims About Long-Term Effects of mRNA Vaccines

The COVID-19 mRNA vaccines authorized for use were found to be safe and effective in clinical trials and real-world conditions. A professor in Ireland baselessly claims in a video circulating on social media that they are not, and that those who get the vaccines will die as a result within several years.