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A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Viral Posts Make Unfounded Claims After Newsom Gets COVID-19 Booster

Viral Posts Make Unfounded Claims After Newsom Gets COVID-19 Booster

After getting the COVID-19 booster on Oct. 27, California Gov. Gavin Newsom canceled a trip and did not participate in any official public events for 12 days. Social media posts claimed, without evidence, that Newsom was suffering serious side effects from the booster. But his staff denied that he had an “adverse reaction” to the shot and, during this time, he appeared twice on social media and reportedly attended a wedding.

Exposing the Holes in a California Recall Election Conspiracy Theory

Exposing the Holes in a California Recall Election Conspiracy Theory

Videos on social media suggest that holes in the return envelopes being used for mail-in ballots in California were designed to allow election officials to peek inside and toss out ballots in favor of recalling Gov. Gavin Newsom. Officials say the holes serve two useful purposes, including helping the vision impaired to sign the ballot envelope in private. 

Bogus Claims Follow Donation of Kamala Harris’ Children’s Book

Bogus Claims Follow Donation of Kamala Harris’ Children’s Book

A single copy of Vice President Kamala Harris’ children’s book was one of many titles donated to a shelter for immigrant children in Long Beach, California. But a debunked New York Post article – which led to the reporter’s resignation — incorrectly claimed every child was given a copy of her book, starting a deluge of false claims in social media posts.

Contrary to Viral Claim, Trump OK’d Aid for California Fires

Contrary to Viral Claim, Trump OK’d Aid for California Fires

Facebook posts claim that President Donald Trump has withheld aid from California to fight wildfires, while offering help to Russia. That’s a rehash of a controversy in 2019, when Trump threatened to withhold aid from California, while offering help to Russia. The Trump administration has provided federal assistance to California for the recent wildfires.

Trump Bucks Climate Science in Wildfire Briefing

Trump Bucks Climate Science in Wildfire Briefing

In a briefing on the barrage of wildfires burning in the West, President Donald Trump baselessly claimed “it’ll start getting cooler,” adding that he didn’t think “science knows” whether or not temperatures would increase in the future. Scientists are very confident that global average temperatures will continue to rise.

California Bill Doesn’t Make Pedophilia ‘Legal’

California Bill Doesn’t Make Pedophilia ‘Legal’

Contrary to QAnon-fueled claims that a California bill would legalize pedophilia, the bill would actually standardize the rules about who is required to be on the state’s sex offender registry.

Meme Recycles Conspiracy Theory on California Wildfires

Meme Recycles Conspiracy Theory on California Wildfires

A baseless conspiracy theory on Facebook suggests that the California wildfires were started by a “powerful laser.” The meme spreading the theory uses the same photos that circulated in 2018 to advance a similar claim.

More False Mail-In Ballot Claims from Trump

More False Mail-In Ballot Claims from Trump

California will send every registered voter in the state a mail-in ballot for the November general election. But President Donald Trump falsely said, on Twitter and at the White House, that the ballots would go to “anyone living in the state, no matter who they are or how they got there” and “people that aren’t citizens.”