Fact Checks

This video shows an animal rights activist with cheetahs in South Africa in 2019
A video has been viewed tens of thousands of times in multiple Facebook and Twitter posts which claim it shows a “caretaker” lying next to several cheetahs at a Hindu temple in India. The claim is false; the video shows an American animal rights activist with cheetahs at a breeding centre in South Africa in 2019.

Repeated claims that Nigeria's president is dead promoted by supporters of separatist group
Facebook posts regularly circulate claiming that Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari is dead and that the man who has taken his place is a lookalike. This is false; reports of Buhari’s death have been greatly exaggerated since 2017, when supporters for the independence of Biafra, a region in southern Nigeria, first began posting the claim on Facebook as part of their public campaign to secede. AFP Fact Check explains why this rumour refuses to die.

This image actually shows an actress in a scene from a Japanese television show
An image purporting to show Hong Kong pro-democracy activist Agnes Chow holding a gun during a “secret military training” has been shared repeatedly in multiple posts on Facebook and online forums. The claim is false; the image actually shows Japanese actress Hiroe Igeta in a scene from a Japanese television series.

Trump Proves Biden Right on USPS Funding, Mail-In Ballots
In late June, Joe Biden claimed President Donald Trump “wants to cut off money for the post office so they cannot deliver mail-in ballots.” At the time, we wrote that the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee had no evidence of Trump’s ulterior motive — but now he does.

In an Aug. 13 interview, Trump admitted that he opposes a coronavirus pandemic relief bill crafted by the House Democrats because it includes funding the U.S. Postal Service and state election officials — funding that Trump said is needed to allow the Postal Service to handle an expected surge in mail-in voting.

... Whether these temporary changes have an impact on the delivery of mail-in ballots also remains to be seen. As we have written before, about a quarter of ballots cast in the 2018 general elections nationwide were by mail, according to the Election Assistance Commission. But some states — including key swing states, such as Pennsylvania and Wisconsin — have had low volumes of mail-in ballots in past elections.

But we do know at this point that Biden’s earlier remarks that Trump “wants to cut off money for the post office so they cannot deliver mail-in ballots” have been confirmed — by the president himself.

Hoax returns: Moon and Mars will not appear of equal size in night sky
Facebook posts shared thousands of times claim that the Moon and Mars will appear to be the same size in the night sky on August 27, 2020. The claim is a frequently-repeated hoax that can be traced back to 2003, and US space agency NASA has explained that, even with magnification, Mars will not appear as large as a full Moon.

Conspiracy theory falsely links Obama to sexual misconduct
Social media posts tied to the QAnon conspiracy theory suggest that photos show former US president Barack Obama and actor George Clooney abusing a child. This is false; the photographer who took the photos in Italy said he did not see anything suspicious, and other images suggest the girl is Obama’s niece.

Tweet calling out fascism does not show official US postal service union flyer
A post retweeted more than 90,000 times appears to show an advertisement from the American Postal Workers Union condemning fascism and calling on viewers to “save” the troubled post office ahead of the presidential election, when mail-in voting will be key. The message is fake; an APWU spokesman said that although the union may agree with the sentiment, the image is not an official poster from the organization.

Harris Hasn’t Called Biden a ‘Racist’ or a ‘Rapist’
Contrary to claims in viral internet posts, Sen. Kamala Harris did not call former Vice President Joe Biden a “racist” or a “rapist.” Rather, she has been critical of Biden’s position on busing to integrate schools and comments he made about segregationist senators, and she has said that she believed women who accused Biden of making them feel uncomfortable.

Trump Campaign Exaggerates Potential for Mail-In Voting Fraud After Election
The latest concern raised by the Trump campaign about mail-in voting is that some states run by Democrats will allow votes to be cast and counted after Election Day.

Specifically, Hogan Gidley, the national press secretary for the Trump campaign, warned that Nevada legislators have created a loophole that would allow voters to “wake up on Wednesday morning, see that they don’t like the results and then go drop their ballots in the mail,” and that those votes would be counted.

But Gidley is exaggerating the potential for what he called “massive fraud” in part because his concern is based on the faulty premise that the U.S. Postal Service does not postmark ballots with prepaid postage. It does, though there are “isolated incidents” of “some ballots not being postmarked,” as a Postal Service official recently explained in a government report.

Wayne Thorley, Nevada’s deputy secretary of state for elections, told us more than 450,000 ballots votes were cast via prepaid mail-in ballots during the primary election in June, and all of them included a postmark. In fact, more than 5,000 ballots were rejected statewide because they were postmarked after June 9 primary, he said.

Viral Chart Distorts Human Trafficking Statistics
A popular bar graph on social media claims to show that the number of human trafficking arrests skyrocketed under President Donald Trump, compared to those under former President Barack Obama. But the chart misleads by using cherry-picked and, in some cases, faulty numbers.