Fact Checks

Tips on safe sex during COVID-19 pandemic misrepresented in Canadian Facebook post
Facebook posts claimed that British Columbia’s top health officer warned about the risks of asbestos poisoning from boards used as barriers against COVID-19 transmission during sex. This is false; health authorities in the Pacific province did include “glory holes” in online virus-prevention tips, but they did not mention asbestos. That warning was satire shared out of context, its author told AFP.

False Claims Follow Old Portland Mugshots
Old mugshots circulating on social media falsely suggest that they show 13 teachers who were recently arrested during the protests in Portland, Oregon. The photos are actually from 2017, and the posts provide no evidence that any of them are teachers.

Tweets from Israeli PM’s account referred to Syria strikes, not Beirut blast
Social media posts claim tweets from the Israeli prime minister’s official Twitter account indicate the country was responsible for a massive explosion that devastated Beirut. But the tweets -- which were sent well before the blast in Lebanon -- actually referred to strikes in Syria the day before.

False Ad About Biden’s VP Pick
A Republican TV ad targeted at Latino voters in large cities falsely claimed that Joe Biden “promised his party an African American Vice President. Not a Latino.”

Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, committed to picking a woman to be his running mate. He didn’t specify a woman of a particular race or ethnicity.

The attack ad was paid for by the Committee to Defend the President, a pro-President Donald Trump group that operates as both a super PAC and a traditional political action committee. According to Advertising Analytics, the 30-second spot aired in several major TV markets, including New York and Los Angeles, on July 31 and Aug. 1.

Trump Misrepresents Obama-Era Fair Housing Rule
In response to a question about his tweet to “all of the people living their Suburban Lifestyle Dream,” President Donald Trump suggested that an Obama administration fair housing rule required the construction of low-income homes in suburban areas. It doesn’t.

“So we ended a rule that was a very horrible rule for people in suburbia — in the suburbs,” Trump said in July 31 remarks from the White House South Lawn. “It’s a rule that, basically, you build low-income housing and you build other forms of housing — also having to do with zoning — and destroy people that have lived in communities in suburbia.”

Experts on regulatory processes and community development told us that the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s 2015 final rule on “Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing,” implemented under then-President Barack Obama, did not mandate either low-income housing or rezoning.

Beirut blast was not a nuclear explosion
Social media posts claim a devastating blast at Beirut’s port was nuclear. This is false; Lebanese authorities have pointed to a huge cache of ammonium nitrate stored at the port, and experts say there is no evidence that it was a nuclear explosion.

False claim circulates on Facebook that 'viruses do not harm or kill' people
Multiple Facebook posts shared hundreds of times claim “viruses do not harm or kill [people]” and that any “harm and death” caused by a virus can be attributed to "the overreaction of a weakened and dysfunctional immune system". The claim is false; viruses can kill people and a dysfunctional immune system does not cause death, experts say.