PolitiFact - Rulingshttp://www.politifact.com/The latest factchecks PolitiFact.com has revieweden-usWed, 23 Nov 2022 22:20:45 +0000https://static.politifact.com/img/pf_rss_logo.png<![CDATA[ Instagram posts - No evidence that U.S. is deporting Cubans based on political affiliation]]>http://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2022/nov/23/instagram-posts/no-evidence-us-deporting-cubans-based-political-af/ Instagram posts - No evidence that U.S. is deporting Cubans based on political affiliationWed, 23 Nov 2022 22:20:45 +0000http://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2022/nov/23/instagram-posts/no-evidence-us-deporting-cubans-based-political-af/

The Cuban government recently agreed to resume accepting its citizens who have been deported from the U.S. after refusing to do so since early 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic began. 

But a viral Instagram video takes the news out of context, claiming the decision exposes President Joe Biden’s "open borders scheme." The U.S. border is not open

"The Biden administration now says it’s going to start deporting illegals," former Newsmax host Grant Stinchfield said in the video posted Nov. 20, which features a screenshot of an NBC news article on this issue. "It says they’re going to start flying Cubans out of this country."

"Now either you deport everybody, or don’t deport anybody at all. The reason they’re deporting Cubans is because Cubans by and large are conservatives," Stinchfield said, adding that Cubans in the United States are escaping communism and socialism. 

Stinchfield continued: "The Biden administration doesn’t want them anywhere near America. Because they know those Cubans would be voting Republican."

The post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.)

Stinchfield’s claim misleads by ignoring several facts: 

  • Deportation flights are resuming because the Cuban government agreed to accept its nationals;

  • Cubans who are being deported are in the U.S. illegally and therefore not eligible to vote;

  • The U.S. isn’t deporting only Cubans. The U.S. continuously deports people from all over the world.

Cuba agrees to once again receive deportation flights from the U.S.

Before 2017, unlike immigrants from most other countries, Cubans who touched U.S. soil without a visa were allowed to stay in the country and seek legal residency within a year. But if they were stopped at sea, they were deported. This was known as the "wet-foot, dry-foot policy," which began in 1995. Under the policy, the Cuban government agreed to accept deported Cubans stopped at sea by U.S. authorities. 

The "wet-foot, dry-foot policy" ended in January 2017 during the Obama administration. And at that time, the Cuban government agreed to accept Cubans who had been deported by the U.S. after touching U.S. soil. This agreement continued under the Trump administration until early 2020, when Cuba stopped accepting deported Cubans during  the COVID-19 pandemic. 

In recent months, a large number of Cubans have been stopped by Border Patrol agents at the southern U.S. border. Agents encountered Cubans nearly 30,000 times in October, surpassed only by Mexicans, who were stopped about 67,000 times that month.

Most Cuban immigrants encountered at the border are let in under immigration law and allowed to apply for asylum. They are subject to deportation if they don’t pass Border Patrol’s "credible fear" asylum screening. During this screening, people are asked about fears of returning to their home country and the potential of being harmed there.

This month, the U.S. State Department and Cuban officials met to discuss immigration issues under the U.S.-Cuba Migration Accords, a set of agreements from 1994 designed to discourage illegal immigration, provide protections for refugees and expand opportunities for legal immigration.

After the meetings in mid-November, Cuba’s Foregin Minister Carlos Fernández de Cossío said at a press conference that Cuba would resume receiving Cuban nationals deemed inadmissible into the United States.

"Cuba informed the U.S., some time ago, of our willingness to receive deportation flights," Cossío said Nov. 15. "We need to agree on the conditions and timing for these flights, which both parties hope will have some regularity, as part of the actions seeking to ensure migration is legal."

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has not released a public statement on this issue. The department also did not provide PolitiFact with an on-the-record comment. 

Stinchfield’s suggestion in the Instagram video that only Cuban immigrants are deported is wrong. U.S immigration authorities deport immigrants from every region of the world if they’re illegally in the country. In fiscal year 2022, U.S. Customs and Border Protection recorded more than 1.3 million expulsions and repatriations.

Authorities are unable to deport every person who is in the U.S. illegally, because of limited resources, so they prioritize certain groups for deportation. High on the priority list are people who recently arrived in the country and convicted criminals.

Cuban Americans tend to vote Republican, according to data from the Pew Research Center. However, we found no evidence to support the claim that is why the Biden administration is deporting Cuban immigrants. Cubans were also deported under Republican administrations, including the administration of former President Donald Trump.

We contacted Stinchfield to ask for evidence to support his claim. 

"If the Biden administration is serious about deporting all illegals why is it solely focused on Cubans?" Stinchfield replied. "It is a well known fact, Cubans lean right. Team Biden is clearly picking winners and losers when it comes to deportations."

Stinchfield cited a poll conducted by Florida International University before the midterm elections, which found that about 52% of Cuban-American voters in Miami-Dade County, Florida, are registered as Republican compared with 21% who are registered as Democrats.

Our ruling

An Instagram video claims the Biden administration is deporting Cubans "because Cubans by and large are conservatives."

Cuba recently announced it will resume accepting Cuban nationals who have been deported from the United States. Cuba had stopped receiving deported Cubans during  the pandemic.

Even though Cuban-Americans tend to vote Republican, Cubans who are being deported are in the U.S. illegally and therefore not eligible to vote. We found no evidence that Cubans are being deported because of their political affiliation. Immigrants from all countries are deported if they are illegally in the United States.

We rate this claim False.

Maria Ramirez Uribe
<![CDATA[ Instagram posts - No,108 FIFA players and coaches did not die because of COVID-19 vaccines]]>http://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2022/nov/22/instagram-posts/no108-fifa-players-and-coaches-did-not-die-because/ Instagram posts - No,108 FIFA players and coaches did not die because of COVID-19 vaccinesTue, 22 Nov 2022 22:38:24 +0000http://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2022/nov/22/instagram-posts/no108-fifa-players-and-coaches-did-not-die-because/

Before the 2022 FIFA World Cup kicked off, an old social media claim resurfaced with a purported list of soccer players and coaches who died in a six-month period. 

An Instagram post shared a screenshot of a tweet that said, "108 FIFA registered players/coaches have died in the past 6 months," and showed a story about Scottish soccer player John Fleck collapsing. The Instagram post also included a story headline about professional soccer players receiving their second doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. 

"The media will try and hide it," said the Instagram post, which was first shared Dec. 6, 2021. It was flagged Nov. 20 as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.)

PolitiFact has reviewed similar claims that athletes collapsed and in some cases, died from complications caused by the COVID-19 vaccine. Each time, we found that such claims are inaccurate.  

FIFA did not immediately respond to PolitiFact's request for comment. 

The figure 108 appears to have originated with an article published Nov. 13, 2021, on an Israeli website, Real Time News. Several 2021 tweets that included the figure cited the article.

The article said, in part, that a growing number of "professional athletes, coaches, and college and youth athletes" have collapsed, and 108 died from heart-related illnesses since the "global vaccination campaign began."

But the first person named in the list, college basketball player Keyontae Johnson, collapsed during a game at Florida State University on Dec. 12, 2020 — two days before the U.S. began distributing COVID-19 vaccines. 

Johnson had not received the vaccine when he collapsed, the AP reported on Dec. 17, 2021. The incident occurred months after he tested positive for COVID-19, but doctors later determined the virus did not cause the collapse. 

Real Time News also cited professional soccer players, Sergio Aguero and Christian Eriksen, as examples of athletes collapsing because of the vaccine. Those claims have been previously debunked; Aguero's collapse had no relation to the vaccine, and Eriksen had not received the vaccine when he collapsed. 

Although the Instagram post suggested the deaths occurred among FIFA-registered players and coaches, the Real Time News article's 108 figure made no such distinction. It included amateur and college athletes across several sports, including volleyball and tennis

The list included French former soccer player Franck Berrier, who died of a heart attack in August 2021 — two years after he retired from the sport. Berrier had spoken about his heart condition and increased risk of heart attack before the vaccine rollout.

A Reuters reporter found that some people included in the list died from a traumatic brain injury, a motorbike accident, heat stroke and suicide. One of the athletes died in 2019 — well before the development of COVID-19 vaccines. 

Studies of COVID-19 vaccines have found a small but increased risk of myocarditis, or inflammation of the heart muscle, for men after receiving mRNA vaccines. But we found no evidence tying the vaccines to the 108 deaths.

We rate the claim that 108 FIFA registered players/coaches have died in the past 6 months False.

Yacob Reyes
<![CDATA[ TikTok posts - No, an Ontario medical regulatory group didn’t say vaccine-hesitant patients may be mentally ill]]>http://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2022/nov/22/tiktok-posts/no-an-ontario-medical-regulatory-group-didnt-say-v/ TikTok posts - No, an Ontario medical regulatory group didn’t say vaccine-hesitant patients may be mentally illTue, 22 Nov 2022 22:36:02 +0000http://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2022/nov/22/tiktok-posts/no-an-ontario-medical-regulatory-group-didnt-say-v/

A viral TikTok video is spreading the misleading claim that an Ontario group that regulates physicians suggested that patients unwilling to get the COVID-19 vaccines may be mentally ill.

The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario "is suggesting to Ontario doctors that ‘unvaccinated’ people are mentally ill and in need of psychiatric medication," reads the text overlaid on a TikTok video shared Nov. 21. The video includes footage from an interview with Dr. William Makis; according to the Toronto Star, he is an Alberta doctor who is no longer practicing.

The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario regulates the practice of medicine in the Canadian province. Doctors must be a member of the group to practice in the province.

We found similar posts sharing the video on TikTok and Twitter, and conservative media sites also are writing about it.

TikTok identified this video as part of its efforts to counter inauthentic, misleading or false content. (Read more about PolitiFact's partnership with TikTok.) 

The footage of Makis appears to be taken from an interview with Laura-Lynn Tyler Thompson this month on her "Let Freedom Reign" tour. 

In the full interview, which Tyler-Thompson posted Nov. 18 on Rumble, Makis repeats debunked claims about dozens of Canadian doctors dying suddenly from COVID-19 vaccines. He then said that The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario sent a "letter or a memo" to doctors in Ontario "suggesting" to them that "any of their unvaccinated patients, they should consider that they have a mental problem, and that they should be put on psychiatric medication."

Makis called the guidance "unethical" and a "slippery slope."

Shae Greenfield, a spokesperson for The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario, said Makis isn’t an organization member and is misrepresenting language from a frequently asked questions page on the organization’s website that has since been updated. 

The question was about how doctors should handle patients who sought medical exemptions from COVID-19 vaccines. Greenfield said the answer was being "grossly misinterpreted," so the college clarified the language Oct. 6. 

A previous version of the answer in the FAQ section, as shown in this archived version from Sept. 22, said:

"It is also important that physicians work with their patients to manage anxieties related to the vaccine and not enable avoidance behaviour. In cases of serious concern, responsible use of prescription medications and/or referral to psychotherapy are available options. Overall, physicians have a responsibility to allow their patients to be properly informed about vaccines and not have those anxieties empowered by an exemption."

Greenfield said the guidance was updated to reference trypanophobia, an intense fear of needles. The guidance now reads:

"It is also important that physicians work with their patients to manage anxieties related to the vaccine and not enable avoidance behaviour. For example, for extreme fear of needles (trypanophobia) or other cases of serious concern, responsible use of prescription medications and/or referral to psychotherapy may be available options. Overall, physicians have a responsibility to allow their patients to be properly informed about vaccines and not have those anxieties empowered by an exemption."

Both versions of the guidance included examples of what the group said are the few legitimate medical exemptions for which doctors can write a note, such as allergic reactions to vaccines or a diagnosed episode of myocarditis or pericarditis after an mRNA vaccine.

The goal is encouraging doctors to work with patients who might want to be vaccinated, but hesitated to do so because of a psychological condition, Greenfield said.

"The college does not set diagnostic criteria for mental health disorders," Greenfield said. 

Our ruling

A TikTok video says The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario suggested "that ‘unvaccinated’ people are mentally ill and in need of psychiatric medication."

The claim distorts the college’s guidance about treating patients who are seeking medical exemptions from the COVID-19 vaccine. The guidance included legitimate medical exemptions for which doctors could write a note. It did not say all patients who don’t want the vaccine may be mentally ill. 

The initial guidance was misinterpreted, and the college later updated the language — before the interview in the TikTok post was conducted — to include a specific example of when doctors could help vaccine-hesitant patients by prescribing medication or psychotherapy.

We rate this claim False.

Jeff Cercone
<![CDATA[ Instagram posts - Instagram post falsely says Joe Biden found guilty of human trafficking]]>http://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2022/nov/22/instagram-posts/president-joe-biden-has-not-been-found-guilty-huma/ Instagram posts - Instagram post falsely says Joe Biden found guilty of human traffickingTue, 22 Nov 2022 18:35:04 +0000http://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2022/nov/22/instagram-posts/president-joe-biden-has-not-been-found-guilty-huma/

After Republicans won control of the House in the midterm elections, conservative lawmakers announced plans to investigate President Joe Biden and his family when the 118th Congress convenes Jan. 3. 

In a Nov. 17 press conference,  Rep. James Comer, R-Ky., claimed that members of Biden’s family have committed several federal crimes, including wire fraud, money laundering and human trafficking. 

"This is an investigation of Joe Biden, the president of the United States, and why he lied to the American people about his knowledge and participation in his family's international business schemes," Comer said. He announced on Twitter that Republicans leading the House Oversight Committee will be in charge of the investigations.

Although Republicans haven't started investigating, an Instagram post baselessly claimed Biden is guilty. . 

The post featured footage from Comer’s press conference. Superimposed text said: "Joe Biden is being investigated for human trafficking and is guilty." 

The Instagram post was flagged as part of Instagram’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.)

House Republicans compiled an interim staff report summarizing preliminary findings based on alleged whistleblower testimony, bank documents allegedly related to the Bidens and a review of a laptop belonging to Biden’s son, Hunter Biden. The report makes none of Comer’s specific allegations. 

Comer said an American bank’s "suspicious activity report" allegedly related to Hunter Biden’s account was sent to the U.S. Treasury Department, connecting him and "his business associates to international human trafficking." Comer did not say which bank issued the report or how Hunter Biden’s account was involved.

Suspicious activity reports flag financial transactions that "might signal criminal activity" such as money laundering or tax evasion. A report signals only that a transaction might be tied to something illegal, it does not prove wrongdoing, according to the U.S. Treasury's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network.

Banks file millions of suspicious activity reports annually; few prompt criminal investigations.

The GOP report said there are at least 150 suspicious activity reports allegedly related to the Bidens, and that they have been unable to review them. Comer said he will compel the Treasury Department to release the reports.

Comer didn’t elaborate on Hunter Biden’s suspected connection to human trafficking, but Republicans have previously accused him of allegedly paying for prostitutes. In a 2019 New Yorker interview, Hunter Biden denied hiring prostitutes. 

White House spokesperson Ian Sams told PolitiFact that the Republicans’ announcement was part of a politically motivated attack "chock full of long-debunked conspiracy theories."

Our ruling

An Instagram report claims "Joe Biden is being investigated for human trafficking and is guilty."

House Republicans have said they plan to investigate the president and his family for alleged wrongdoing when the new Congress convenes in January, but there is no active investigation into Biden related to human trafficking.  

The Instagram post pre-emptively ascribes guilt to the president. 

We rate this claim False.

Andy Nguyen
<![CDATA[Raphael Warnock - Herschel Walker backs efforts that further his goal of banning abortion]]>http://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2022/nov/22/raphael-warnock/does-herschel-walker-support-national-ban-abortion/Raphael Warnock - Herschel Walker backs efforts that further his goal of banning abortionTue, 22 Nov 2022 17:17:02 +0000http://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2022/nov/22/raphael-warnock/does-herschel-walker-support-national-ban-abortion/

Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Ga., has highlighted the differences about abortion between him and his Republican rival, Herschel Walker ahead of Dec. 6’s U.S. Senate runoff election.

On Nov. 19, Warnock told students at Emory University in Atlanta that he believes "in a woman’s right to choose" and characterized Walker as holding the opposite view. 

"He wants a nationwide ban on abortion. He says he doesn't support reproductive choice. He said no exceptions, which is a rather curious position for him to take," Warnock said, a nod to news reports about a woman who said Walker impregnated her and paid for the abortion. (A second woman made a similar allegation anonymously through her lawyer.) Walker denies the allegations.

Warnock said Walker doesn’t support exceptions, "he said not even for rape or incest or life of the mother."

For most of his Senate campaign, Walker spoke against abortion rights, often saying he was against exceptions and in favor of a national ban. But his stance hasn’t been consistent. 

Warnock finished slightly ahead of Walker in the Nov. 8 midterm election, but with just less than 50% of the vote, forcing a runoff.

Walker repeatedly said he opposed abortion before October debate

We found multiple examples of Walker opposing abortion, including exceptions:

  • In September 2021, Walker suggested on a questionnaire for the Georgia Life Alliance that he believed all abortions should be illegal. The questionnaire asked respondents to write "yes" if they supported exceptions to prevent the death of the mother or in cases of rape, or incest of a minor. Walker left all three options blank. 

Walker wrote: "I am 100% pro-life. As Georgia’s next Senator, I will vote for any legislation which protects the sanctity of human life, even if the legislation is not perfect. Every human life is valuable and absolutely worth saving."

  • In May after Walker’s campaign speech in Macon, a reporter asked Walker whether he wanted a stricter abortion ban than the 2019 Georgia law that banned abortion after about six weeks. 

Walker told reporters: "There’s no exception in my mind. Like I say, I believe in life, I believe in life." 

  • In July, reporters asked Walker about the Senate potentially voting on a national abortion ban. He said, "There's not a national ban on abortion right now, and I think that's a problem."

  • Walker spoke about abortion at a roundtable in August with the African American Voices of the Faith and Freedom Coalition. 

"I believe in life. And I said, you know, if anyone wants to have an exception, I said, ‘Not in my book,’" Walker said. "I said, ‘I’m sorry. I feel bad for anyone that’s a victim of any kind of crime.’ I do. I feel like that. That is terrible and that’s horrible, but we deal with that as it comes."

Walker added: "But right now, to say that it is OK for a woman to kill her baby when they said, ‘Thou shall not kill,’ and I said, ‘I can’t square, I can’t get around that.’ So, I will always vote for what my religious beliefs tell me."

Late in campaign, Walker showed support for legislation with exceptions

We also found some instances when Walker showed support for legislation that included exceptions.

In September, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., proposed a national ban on abortion after 15 weeks. The proposal included exceptions for cases of rape, incest and the mother’s life and physical health. Walker told reporters in a statement that "the issue should be decided at the state level, but I WOULD support this policy." 

A Walker campaign spokesperson, Will Kiley, told PolitiFact Walker would vote in favor of Graham’s bill.

In October, Walker said at a debate that he supports the 2019 Georgia law that bans abortion around six weeks. The law has exceptions for rape and incest up to 20 weeks, if an official police report has been filed or if a physician determines that the pregnancy is not viable. The law also provides for later abortions when the mother's life is at risk or a serious medical condition renders a fetus unviable.

The 2019 law didn’t take effect until July 2022, after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the  landmark case Roe v. Wade, which protected abortion access nationwide. This month, Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney struck down the law, saying. it was unconstitutional when drafted. The state attorney general filed a notice of appeal.

Our ruling

Warnock said Walker "wants a nationwide ban on abortion" and said no exceptions "not even for rape or incest or life of the mother."

For most of the campaign, Walker has supported a national abortion ban. He’s also said repeatedly that there shouldn’t be exceptions. But he hasn’t been 100% consistent. 

Late in his campaign, Walker said he supported two measures that included exceptions: Graham’s bill banning abortion nationwide at 15 weeks, and a 2019 Georgia law.

Walker has also made conflicting statements about what entity should create abortion rules. He’s said the issue should be decided at the state level, while also supporting a nationwide ban.

Walker backs efforts that further his goal to ban abortion, even if proposals have exceptions.

Warnock's statement is accurate but needs clarification or additional information. We rate it Mostly True.

RELATED: Fact-checking the Georgia Senate debate between Raphael Warnock and Herschel Walker

RELATED: Herschel Walker on PolitiFact’s Truth-O-Meter

RELATED: Raphael Warnock on PolitiFact’s Truth-O-Meter

Amy Sherman
<![CDATA[ Instagram posts - John Kerry did not speak at climate summit about wiping out the middle class]]>http://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2022/nov/22/instagram-posts/john-kerry-did-not-speak-climate-summit-about-wipi/ Instagram posts - John Kerry did not speak at climate summit about wiping out the middle classTue, 22 Nov 2022 16:58:35 +0000http://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2022/nov/22/instagram-posts/john-kerry-did-not-speak-climate-summit-about-wipi/

During the United Nations’ COP27 climate summit in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, John Kerry, the United States’ special presidential envoy for climate, discussed the need for private companies and governments to work together to address climate change. An Instagram post has interpreted his remarks as an attack on capitalism and the middle class. 

A man shared a video of himself talking about Kerry’s Nov. 7 remarks, using a screenshot from a Gateway Pundit article as his background. The article’s headline said, "John Kerry Spills the Beans at U.N.’s COP27 Meeting: They Want to Replace Capitalism with a New Economic System."

"They want to wipe out the middle class, they want to get you under the central banking digital currency system, or you’ll see a carbon tax, you’ll see a social credit score, and they will take your rights away," the man said in the video.

Many of the man’s talking points come from the post from the Gateway Pundit, a conservative website known to spread misinformation. 

The "they" mentioned by the man and Gateway Pundit post appears to be the First Movers Coalition, a partnership between the U.S. and the World Economic Forum. The coalition began in 2021 and involves more than 50 private companies pledging to invest in greener technologies and renewable energy sources within the transportation and industrial sectors. 

A World Economic Forum spokesperson told PolitiFact there’s no truth to the claims from the Instagram video and The Gateway Pundit. Those claims are related to conspiracy theories surrounding the World Economic Forum’s "The Great Reset" policy ideas.

The Instagram post was flagged as part of Instagram’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.)

Kerry’s speech at COP27

During a COP27 panel, Kerry spoke about the First Movers Coalition, which went from 25 member companies in 2021 to 65 members in 2022. He detailed the need for these companies to spearhead efforts to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and keep global temperatures from rising 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-Industrial Revolution levels. 

Companies pledging to be more environmentally friendly should boost demand for greener technology, Kerry said. 

"We have an enormous challenge ahead of us to bring to scale new technologies and to harness the deeply capable capacity of private sector entrepreneurs in order to bring them to the table because, without it, no government has enough money to accelerate, to support the process," Kerry said. "We need everybody engaged in this."

The Instagram video doesn’t say why encouraging companies to invest in greener technologies would end capitalism or destroy the middle class. 

However, the Gateway Pundit claims that creating an artificial demand for environmentally friendly items, such as electric cars and nonlivestock meat alternatives, would have detrimental consequences.

In one example, the outlet said promoting meat alternatives would lead to a decreased demand in beef and a reduction in livestock in the U.S. in favor of "crickets and other insects" as protein. 

However, the Environmental Protection Agency has said that extreme weather events such as floods, droughts and heat waves are what can decimate crops and kill livestock

The World Economic Forum’s "Great Reset"

Kerry did not mention a central banking digital currency system, carbon tax or a social credit score during his speech at COP27. 

Yann Zopf, a World Economic Forum spokesperson, told PolitiFact the organization believes digital currencies "have a role to play in building a global financial system" in a post-pandemic world, but it can only recommend, not mandate its use. 

Zopf said the World Economic Forum is not a legislative body; its role is to enable cooperation between private companies and governments.

"The claims (in the Instagram video) are false and misleading," he said.

The World Economic Forum said the Great Reset’s proposals are designed to shape "global relations, the direction of national economies, the priorities of societies, the nature of business models and the management of a global commons" in a post-COVID-19 world.

The initiative recommends that governments better coordinate tax and fiscal policies, update trade agreements and use technological innovations to address health and social challenges. 

Because of its broad proposals to "reset capitalism," the Great Reset has been the target of multiple conspiracy theories.

Our ruling

An Instagram video claimed Kerry spoke about wanting to "wipe out the middle class … get you under the central banking digital currency system."

Kerry didn’t call for that during the COP27 climate summit. He spoke about private companies investing in greener technologies to combat climate change. He did not advocate for ending the middle class or implementing a central banking digital currency system.

We rate this claim False. 

Andy Nguyen
<![CDATA[ Tweets - No, the Club Q shooting in Colorado Springs was not a false flag]]>http://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2022/nov/22/tweets/no-club-q-shooting-colorado-springs-was-not-false/ Tweets - No, the Club Q shooting in Colorado Springs was not a false flagTue, 22 Nov 2022 16:58:33 +0000http://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2022/nov/22/tweets/no-club-q-shooting-colorado-springs-was-not-false/

News about the Nov. 19 mass shooting that killed five people at an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs, Colorado, is still developing, but that hasn’t stopped baseless social media claims from describing it as a "false flag" operation. 

One tweet from a well-known purveyor of misinformation, Real Raw News, was posted a day after the shooting and claimed it was staged because of a perceived connection to the QAnon conspiracy theories

"Odd that the place was called Club ‘Q,’" the tweet said. "I smell False Flag."

There’s nothing fabricated about this shooting. The loved ones of five who authorities say were killedDaniel Aston, 28, Kelly Loving, 40, Ashley Paugh, 35Derrick Rump, 38, and Raymond Green Vance, 22 —  are grieving. "We're heartbroken. We're sad. We're mad, angry," Paugh’s sister, Stephanie Clark, told NBC.

Club Q opened as a gay club in Colorado Springs in the early 2000s, well before QAnon first emerged as a conspiracy theory in 2017. Coverage of the club’s opening by local newspaper The Gazette focused on the club owners’ aim to serve the queer community at a time when mainstream media was increasingly embracing LGBTQ culture amid popular shows like "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" and "Will & Grace."

There is no evidence the club is linked to QAnon.

False flag operations historically referred to when a military force or ship flew the flag of another country to deceive an enemy. The term then became associated with governments faking violent acts to justify military action against an enemy. Today, actual false flags are outnumbered by modern-day conspiracy theories that use the term to baselessly suggest fraud whenever a tragedy or violent attack occurs.

The false accusations frequently follow mass shootings: 26 killed at Sandy Hook Elementary, in 2012; 17 killed by a gunman in a Parkland, Florida, high school in 2018; 31 dead in El Paso, Texas, and Dayon, Ohio, in 2019. 

Similar false flag claims followed more recent shootings in Buffalo, New York; Highland Park, Illinois; and Uvalde County, Texas, all receiving Pants on Fire ratings from PolitiFact. Conspiracy theorists have also called the 9/11 attacks and the recent attack on Paul Pelosi false flag operations. 

While the Colorado Springs shooting remains under investigation by law enforcement and a motive for it has not been disclosed, there is no evidence to support the idea it was all staged.

Multiple local and national news outlets have closely covered the shooting and interviewed law enforcement personnel and witnesses at the nightclub, as well as reviewed 911 calls from that night. 

The Denver Post reported that the first call to 911 happened around 11:57 a.m. Police believe the gunman began shooting as soon as he entered the building.

Joshua Thurman, who was at the club, told the Post he initially mistook the gunfire as a part of the music before realizing something was wrong.

"There were bodies on the ground … shattered glass, blood. It was awful," Thurman told the paper.

At least two clubgoers confronted the suspected gunman within minutes of the first shots fired and subdued him before police arrived just after midnight, the Denver Post reported. Anderson Lee Aldrich, 22, was identified by police as the suspect.

Aldrich faces 10 counts of first-degree murder and hate crime charges, according to court records reviewed by CNN.

The Colorado Springs Police Department said multiple guns were found at the nightclub, including a "long rifle" used during the shooting.

Our ruling

A social media post made the baseless claim the mass shooting at an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs was a false flag operation. 

The post implied the shooting was staged and pointed to a perceived connection to the QAnon conspiracy theorists because the club is named Club Q. 

The club has no connection to QAnon. It was opened more than a decade before QAnon emerged as a conspiracy theory. Overwhelming evidence from continuous news coverage, police statements and witness testimonies prove the shooting happened. Five people were killed and their loved ones are mourning.

We rate this claim Pants on Fire!

RELATED: Why do some people think mass shootings are staged every time?

RELATED: False flags: They’re real, but far less widespread than social media suggest

Andy Nguyen
<![CDATA[ Instagram posts - Trump didn’t tweet Nov. 19]]>http://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2022/nov/21/instagram-posts/trump-didnt-tweet-nov-19/ Instagram posts - Trump didn’t tweet Nov. 19Mon, 21 Nov 2022 22:28:31 +0000http://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2022/nov/21/instagram-posts/trump-didnt-tweet-nov-19/

Has Donald Trump tweeted yet? An Instagram post falsely claimed that he had. 

For the past 22 months, the former president’s Twitter account has sat dormant. The social media company permanently suspended him on Jan. 8, 2021, after determining that his tweets denying the results of  the 2020 presidential election were "likely to inspire others to replicate the violent acts that took place on January 6, 2021," the company wrote in a Jan. 8, 2021, news release explaining its decision.

But now the path has been paved for his return. 

Trump’s Twitter account was reinstated after the company’s CEO, Elon Musk, posted a poll on Nov. 18 and said its results would determine Trump’s fate on the platform. Musk acquired Twitter for $44 billion in October. But in May, months before the deal, Musk said he thought the ban was a mistake and would reverse it.

More than 15 million people voted in Musk’s poll. Nearly 52% voted in favor of bringing Trump back, and about 48% voted no. Musk reinstated Trump’s account Nov. 19.

A Nov. 19 Instagram post claimed that Trump tweeted the same day. The post shared a screenshot of the alleged tweet, which read, "It is true that I am back. Sending warm greetings to all the haters and losers who voted against me in @elonmusk's poll. We love democracy! For my first tweet, I am looking for recs on lawyers who rep people in cases of 'light' treason. Asking for a friend…" The tweet was time-stamped 8:27 p.m. Nov. 19.

The Instagram post sharing the tweet was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)

But Trump hasn't tweeted. (At least, not when this was published.). He said he sees "no reason" to come back to the platform, according to his comments during an appearance at the Republican Jewish Coalition’s annual leadership meeting in Las Vegas, The Hill reported.  

All of the former president’s tweets are available for viewing online. A search shows that his last tweet was Jan. 8, 2021, the day his account was suspended. 

We rate the claim that Trump tweeted about his return to Twitter on Nov. 19 Pants on Fire! 

Gabrielle Settles
<![CDATA[ Instagram posts - This video doesn’t prove ballots broke chain of custody in Maricopa County, Arizona]]>http://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2022/nov/21/instagram-posts/this-video-doesnt-prove-ballots-broke-chain-of-cus/ Instagram posts - This video doesn’t prove ballots broke chain of custody in Maricopa County, ArizonaMon, 21 Nov 2022 21:47:42 +0000http://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2022/nov/21/instagram-posts/this-video-doesnt-prove-ballots-broke-chain-of-cus/

Claims that Arizona ballots broke the chain of custody in Maricopa County, Arizona, are spreading on social media. 

Chain of custody in an election is a process or paper trail to document the transfer of ballots  and materials from one person or place to the next. There’s no evidence it was broken in Maricopa County. 

Still, one post, a screenshot of a Gateway Pundit blog post headline, says: "FIX IS IN: Arizona ballots stop at Runbeck Printing Company to scan ballot envelopes before they are sent to county — with no observers."  

Another post shows footage of white Penske rental trucks "apparently delivering ballots." 

"Runbeck is scanning the Maricopa ballots before they are sent to the Maricopa County Elections Center," text below the video says. 

"More ballots break chain of custody in Arizona," the post says.

These posts were flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.)

Kelli Ward, chairwoman of the Arizona Republican Party, also suggested that Maricopa County was not being transparent. 

"Why won’t @MaricopaVote just say what the Penske trucks are delivering?" Ward tweeted Nov. 11.

Maricopa County’s Twitter account replied that trucks, driven by bipartisan staff, were transporting "sealed envelope packets to Runbeck for signature imaging in preparation for signature verification, which is performed back at the election center."

Runbeck Election Services, the Maricopa County Elections Department and the U.S. Postal Service facilities work together to resolve issues related to the sending and receiving of ballots, according to a report from the elections department that predates the 2022 November general election and August primary.

The report also noted that the delivery and receipt of ballot packets between the post office, Runbeck, and the county’s tabulation and election center happens "on a regular and regimented schedule" so that ballots can be tabulated in a timely manner. 

The report said: "As early ballots are returned by mail, a two-member bipartisan team from the elections department pick-up the mail and deliver it in hand-documented batches to Runbeck. The transfer is documented using a chain-of-custody transfer slip that is signed by both elections department staff and Runbeck staff."

Runbeck then scans voters’ signatures on the ballot envelopes for elections department staff to verify the signatures before the ballots are counted.

Also, the posts’ claims that there were no observers at Runbeck is wrong. 

The Maricopa County Republicans tweeted on Nov. 10 that Republicans had workers at Runbeck’s facilities on election night. 

The party’s account tweeted again on Nov. 14: "Repeating! There were Republican observers at RUNBECK on election night and the next day when ballots were sent there for scanning!" 

Claims that the transportation of these ballots amounts to a broken chain of custody in Maricopa’s elections are wrong. We rate these posts False.

Ciara O'Rourke
<![CDATA[ Instagram posts - No, the Arizona governor’s election wasn’t ‘fraudulent’]]>http://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2022/nov/21/instagram-posts/no-the-arizona-governors-election-wasnt-fraudulent/ Instagram posts - No, the Arizona governor’s election wasn’t ‘fraudulent’Mon, 21 Nov 2022 21:08:21 +0000http://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2022/nov/21/instagram-posts/no-the-arizona-governors-election-wasnt-fraudulent/

Arizona counties have until Nov. 28 to certify their election results and send their final vote tallies to the secretary of state. But a recent Instagram post alleges, without evidence, that the gubernatorial election there was illegitimate. 

"The next step will be for the frauds to try and certify a fraudulent election (again)," the post says, apparently alluding to the false claim that the 2020 presidential election was fraudulent. "Fraudulent because due to machines not working, printers not working, voters being turned away from exercising their right to vote, it was not fair and equal and we cannot allow certification." 

This post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.)

According to unofficial election results, Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs beat Republican challenger Kari Lake, a former Phoenix TV news anchor, with about 50.3% of the vote. In the more than two weeks since Election Day, we’ve debunked many claims seeking to undermine this contest’s results, including false allegations about voting machines, printers and efforts to disenfranchise voters. 

Voting machines at about 70 vote centers in Maricopa County temporarily stopped processing ballots on Election Day; some of the ballot printers didn’t use enough ink, making the ballots unreadable by a tabulator’s scanner.

But voters weren’t turned away. They could place their ballots in a secured slot so their votes would be counted after polls closed or they could go to different Maricopa County polling locations that had working tabulators.

Another piece of misinformation that took hold: that the county — the state’s most populous  — intentionally reduced polling places, suggesting a bigger disenfranchisement plot. 

But Maricopa County had 48 more voting locations in the 2022 general election than it did in the 2020 general election. 

Among other related claims we’ve debunked: that the social media followings of Lake and Hobbs suggest election fraud; that bags of ballots in Maricopa County are evidence of election fraud; that split election results show the race was rigged; that Hobbs was caught in a vote counting room; that there was no chain of custody for ballots at a polling site in Maricopa County; that the chain of custody was broken there; and that final, unofficial election results in Arizona were delayed because election officials there wanted "more time to cheat." 

No evidence has emerged of widespread voter fraud in Arizona, just as it didn’t in the 2020 election. 

We rate claims that the Arizona gubernatorial race was fraudulent Pants on Fire!

Ciara O'Rourke
<![CDATA[ Viral image - No, philanthropist Bill Gates didn’t say death panels ‘will soon be required’]]>http://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2022/nov/21/viral-image/no-philanthropist-bill-gates-didnt-say-death-panel/ Viral image - No, philanthropist Bill Gates didn’t say death panels ‘will soon be required’Mon, 21 Nov 2022 20:28:39 +0000http://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2022/nov/21/viral-image/no-philanthropist-bill-gates-didnt-say-death-panel/

Microsoft Corp. co-founder and philanthropist Bill Gates did not attend the recent annual Group of 20 meeting in Bali, according to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. But that hasn’t stopped misinformation from spreading about Gates’ alleged remarks at that event. 

"Bill Gates tells G20 world leaders that ‘death panels’ will soon be required," reads a Nov. 17 Instagram post that includes an image of Gates speaking. "Unelected world health czar Bill Gates has used his appearance at the G20 summit in Bali, Indonesia, to raise a discussion about ‘death panels.’ According to Gates, death panels will be necessary in the near future in order to end the lives of sick and unwell people due to ‘very, very high medical costs.’" 

This post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.)

The image of Gates was not taken at the G20 summit, which, again his foundation says he didn’t attend. It’s a Bloomberg News photo that was published with an Oct. 16 story from the publication — before the summit — about Gates’ pledge to spend $1.2 billion to try to end the poliovirus. 

Gates shared the Bloomberg News photo and article about a month ago on his LinkedIn account, writing, "Last week, I sat down with Bloomberg News to talk about why I remain so committed to eradicating polio."

Gates mentioned "death panels," in 2010 during a conversation about education and health care systems at the Aspen Institute Ideas Festival in Colorado. Gates was talking about weighing spending on education and health care when he said, "There’s also a lack of willingness to say is spending $10 million on that last month of life on that patient, would it be better to lay off those 10 teachers and make that up in medical costs? That is called the ‘death panel’ and you’re not supposed to have that discussion." 

He didn’t say anything else about death panels, least of all that they would "soon be required," as the post says. 

We rate claims that Gates made such a statement at the recent G20 summit Pants on Fire!

Ciara O'Rourke
<![CDATA[ Viral image - No, Sunny Hostin didn’t admit to voter fraud]]>http://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2022/nov/21/viral-image/no-sunny-hostin-didnt-admit-to-voter-fraud/ Viral image - No, Sunny Hostin didn’t admit to voter fraudMon, 21 Nov 2022 20:07:07 +0000http://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2022/nov/21/viral-image/no-sunny-hostin-didnt-admit-to-voter-fraud/

In a recent episode of ABC’s talk show "The View," co-host Sunny Hostin put down the cellphone she had been looking at and said, "It’s my son." 

"Who, by the way, wanted to make sure that his absentee ballot was — that I did that, and I had trouble, actually, voting for him absentee ballot today and that made me very concerned," Hostin said.

Another co-host asked what happened and Hostin said, "I was told to put it in an orange bag on the floor and the orange bag looked to me like a Target bag or something and I said, "Isn’t there a formal election box that says ‘absentee ballots’ or something like that?," and then she said, ‘Let me check,’ and then found it."

A Nov. 8 Instagram post sharing the clip raised the specter that Hostin was admitting to committing voter fraud. 

"Sunny admits she voted absentee in place of her son and whines that she had trouble doing it," text above the video says. 

The post’s caption asks a question, and then asks for money: "Did Sunny Hostin commit voter fraud on behalf of her son? Tell us below and support our fundraiser to help us expose voter fraud and the media’s ongoing election interference."

What Hostin described isn’t voter fraud.

This post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.)

Hostin lives with her family in Westchester County, New York, where the law specifies that voters can designate someone on their absentee ballot application to "pick up and deliver your ballot." 

A representative for Hostin told Reuters and The Associated Press that she and her son followed the law and that "she was the designated person he assigned to drop off his completed absentee ballot." 

We rate claims that Hostin admitted to vote fraud Pants on Fire!

Ciara O'Rourke
<![CDATA[ Instagram posts - No, COVID-19 vaccination is not causing RSV in children]]>http://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2022/nov/21/instagram-posts/no-covid-19-vaccination-not-causing-rsv-children/ Instagram posts - No, COVID-19 vaccination is not causing RSV in childrenMon, 21 Nov 2022 19:37:10 +0000http://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2022/nov/21/instagram-posts/no-covid-19-vaccination-not-causing-rsv-children/

Social media users are wrongly linking a rise in cases of respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, in young children to the COVID-19 vaccine. 

"Gov injects children & pregnant women with experimental c jab——> RSV is an adverse event of said jab——> Pediatric RSV cases surge at record highs," reads one Instagram post.

Another post says, "Moderna/Pfizer’s C19-V clinical trials involving children identified elevated rate of Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV). FDA’s vaccine committee even voiced concerns. RSV now spiking in children. CDC’s befuddling advice on RSV is to recommend more C19-V." 

These posts were flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.)

RSV is a common respiratory virus that causes mild, cold-like symptoms, but it can cause serious infection in infants and older adults. 

There is no evidence that COVID-19 vaccination can cause infection with RSV, said Katie Grusich, a spokesperson for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

"Although the U.S. has seen a recent resurgence in the circulation of RSV, flu, and other respiratory viral diseases, this is not linked to pediatric COVID-19 vaccination — but likely because of a relaxation of widespread mitigation measures," Grusich said. 

As people congregate after a period of separation, it’s not surprising to see an increase in respiratory disease circulation, she said. Also, efforts in 2020 and 2021 to prevent the spread of respiratory diseases — such as school closures and masking — led to atypical flu and RSV seasons, where fewer children were exposed to the viruses

The claim also doesn’t take into account who is eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccines and who is most vulnerable to RSV. There is no COVID-19 vaccine authorized for children younger than 6 months old, and these infants have always been at the highest risk of RSV-associated severe disease and hospitalization. Children younger than 6 months old continue to have the highest rates of RSV hospitalization among all age groups, Grusich said. 

Dr. Thomas A. Russo, who treats patients and also studies infectious diseases at the University at Buffalo, echoed the point that there is no evidence that COVID-19 vaccination is causing RSV. 

Pandemic lockdowns prevented young kids from being exposed to RSV, which means they didn’t develop antibodies to the disease, he said. There are now more susceptible children than there had been in the past, because fewer had been exposed to the disease in the last two years. 

Some of the social media claims point to a document from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration about the Moderna vaccine’s trial in children ages 6 months to 5 years old. The document states that within 28 days of vaccination, there were some respiratory infections — including croup, RSV and pneumonia — found with greater frequency in the trial group. 

The document says for children ages 2 through 5, RSV was reported by 0.4% who got the vaccine, and less than 0.1% of those who received the placebo. In children ages 6 months to two years, RSV was found in 0.8% of the group that received the vaccine and 0.5% of placebo recipients. 

However, investigators determined that the cases of severe RSV were not related to the vaccine. The FDA agreed with the trial investigator's assessment that it is unlikely there is a causal association between respiratory infections and the vaccine. The FDA said the imbalance could be due to chance. 

"FDA continues to closely monitor for safety signals and has not identified a safety signal for RSV after administration of COVID-19 vaccine," said Abigail Capobianco, an FDA spokesperson. 

Other fact checkers said the claims rely on a misreading of the clinical trial data, and that the numbers of children affected by RSV in the trial group and the placebo group were each very small. 

Our ruling

Social media posts say increases in RSV in children are linked to the COVID-19 vaccine.

There is no evidence COVID-19 vaccination causes RSV in children. The CDC said the increase in RSV cases is likely because of a relaxation of widespread mitigation measures.

There is no COVID-19 vaccine authorized for children younger than 6 months old, and that age group continues to have the highest rates of RSV hospitalization.

The FDA has found no link between RSV cases and COVID-19 vaccines.

We rate this claim False.  

Jill Terreri Ramos
<![CDATA[ Viral image - No evidence that ballots found in California county signal Democratic scheme]]>http://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2022/nov/18/viral-image/no-evidence-ballots-found-california-county-signal/ Viral image - No evidence that ballots found in California county signal Democratic schemeFri, 18 Nov 2022 22:18:01 +0000http://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2022/nov/18/viral-image/no-evidence-ballots-found-california-county-signal/

On Nov. 11, an NBC News affiliate in California’s Bay Area reported that a woman had reported finding a bag stuffed with completed Santa Clara County ballots in a mountain ravine there. 

A recent Instagram post shared an authentic clip of the coverage, but wrongly claimed that it illustrates "how the left cheats to win."

This post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.)

We reached out to the Santa Clara County registrar of voters about the post and asked whether there’s any evidence to show that Democratic operatives are behind the recovered ballots. 

The registrar of voters’ responded with a Nov. 16 press release that does not corroborate such a claim. 

In all, 36 ballots were recovered and turned over to the voter registrar Nov. 14. 

After the required validation and signature verification processes, 31 were eligible and counted in the election. Four of the ballots had open envelopes and the registrar "is unable to count ballots whose envelopes have been opened or sufficiently torn such that the ballot may have been tampered with," the press release said. The remaining ballot had a signature that didn’t match the voter’s signature on file. 

The ballots were discovered in the ravine among other nonelection mail. The U.S. Postal Service is investigating the incident, and the registrar referred the matter to the Santa Clara County district attorney’s office, which is coordinating with the Postal Service, the press release said. 

We found no evidence suggesting that the abandoned ballots were part of a Democratic scheme to steal the election, as the post suggests. 

We don’t yet know how and why the ballots wound up in the ravine, but to claim that it displays how the left "cheats to win" is unfounded. We rate this post False.

Ciara O'Rourke
<![CDATA[ Instagram posts - Pelosi wasn’t arrested by US Marshals in 2021]]>http://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2022/nov/18/instagram-posts/pelosi-wasnt-arrested-by-us-marshals-in-2021/ Instagram posts - Pelosi wasn’t arrested by US Marshals in 2021Fri, 18 Nov 2022 22:14:48 +0000http://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2022/nov/18/instagram-posts/pelosi-wasnt-arrested-by-us-marshals-in-2021/

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Nov. 17 that she’s stepping down from her leadership role in Congress, but a subsequent Instagram post claims it wasn’t Pelosi at all.

"It was announced that she’s stepping down as Speaker of the House after two decades," the post said, "but the real Nancy was arrested by U.S. Marshals on Jan. 14, 2021 (see slide)….then on Jan. 20, 2021 (the fake inauguration of the fake president), two of the marshals are seen escorting her into the Capitol and telling her not to say anything."

This post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.)

These claims are unfounded. U.S. marshals did not arrest Pelosi, and the allegations that she has been replaced by an impersonator are baseless. 


But let’s look at the post’s, ahem, evidence. The post’s photos include several images of Pelosi, including one labeled "Old Nancy" and one labeled "New Nancy." 

The "Old Nancy" photo was taken by Reuters photographer Elizabeth Frantz in July 2021 as Pelosi held her weekly news conference at the U.S. Capitol. 

The "New Nancy" photo was posted on Twitter by CBS News reporter Cristina Corujo on March 1, 2022, during the State of the Union address. 

Both photos are of Pelosi — not an impersonator. 

Another photo in the post is described as showing marshals "arresting Pelosi from the Congress" and taking her to a "secret location." 

In reality, the image, taken by Associated Press Photographer J. Scott Applewhite, shows Pelosi returning "to her leadership office after opening debate on the impeachment" of then-President Donald Trump on July 13, 2021. 

We rate this post Pants on Fire!

Ciara O'Rourke
<![CDATA[ Viral image - World Health Organization director general stuttered, he wasn’t asserting that countries are killing]]>http://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2022/nov/18/viral-image/world-health-organization-director-general-stutter/ Viral image - World Health Organization director general stuttered, he wasn’t asserting that countries are killingFri, 18 Nov 2022 17:16:14 +0000http://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2022/nov/18/viral-image/world-health-organization-director-general-stutter/

A video spreading on social media suggests that Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreysus, the World Health Organization director general, implicated multiple countries in a scheme to murder children. 

In the clip, Tedros, discussing COVID-19 vaccine boosters, sounds as if he says: "So if it’s going to be used, to focus on those groups who have risk of severe diseases and death rather than as we see in some countries are using to give boosters to kill children." 

"What did he say?" text flanking the video in an Instagram post says. "Some countries are using boosters to kill children??"

This post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.)


We reached out to the WHO about the post but didn’t hear back. 

However, a spokesperson for the organization told Reuters in December 2021, not long after Tedros made the remark, that he had stuttered. 

Tedros "got stuck on the first syllable" of children," the spokesperson said. "It came out sounding like ‘cil/kil.’ He then correctly pronounced the same syllable immediately after, with it coming out audibly as ‘cil-children.’"

His comments in the video in the Instagram post, put in context, make clear that he’s not talking about countries killing children with vaccines.

Tedros was fielding questions from reporters in Geneva on Dec. 20, 2021, about vaccine inequity around the world. He said that it’s better to vaccinate high-risk people in countries where vaccines haven’t been as accessible, rather than giving booster shots to children in high-income countries. 

We rate claims that he was asserting that countries are using vaccine boosters to kill children False.

Ciara O'Rourke
<![CDATA[ Viral image - Social media followings of Katie Hobbs, Kari Lake, not evidence of fraud]]>http://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2022/nov/18/viral-image/social-media-followings-katie-hobbs-kari-lake-not/ Viral image - Social media followings of Katie Hobbs, Kari Lake, not evidence of fraudFri, 18 Nov 2022 16:59:29 +0000http://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2022/nov/18/viral-image/social-media-followings-katie-hobbs-kari-lake-not/

Arizona Secretary State Katie Hobbs narrowly prevailed in her bid to become the state’s governor, according to unofficial election results, with 50.3% of the vote. 

But a recent Instagram post suggests the election is illegitimate, and points to the number of Instagram followers Hobbs and her Republican opponent Kari Lake have. 

"Katie Hobbs had ~2.8 percent of Kari Lake’s Instagram following… Katie Hobbs is AZ’s secretary of state and oversees elections… but we’re not allowed to question anything?" the video post says. 

"How are we supposed to believe this!?" reads text above an image in the post of an NBC News broadcast projecting Hobbs as the winner. "Just look at their socials!!!"

This post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.)

It’s true that Hobbs has a fraction of Lake’s social media following, though when we compared their profiles Nov. 17, it was more like 3%. Lake has about 496,000 followers; Hobbs has about 15,000

But as we noted in a fact-check of a similar claim, casting doubt on Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman’s U.S. Senate win over Republican candidate Dr. Mehmet Oz, a large social media following doesn’t ensure an election win. 

Beto O’Rourke, the Democratic candidate for Texas governor who has about 1.1 million Instagram followers, failed to unseat Gov. Greg Abbott, who has about 162,000.

Stacey Abrams, the Democratic candidate for Georgia governor, has about 2.1 million followers, while Gov. Brian Kemp, who won re-election, has fewer than 48,000

Syracuse University professor Jennifer Stromer-Galley, who studies political social media messaging, told NPR in August that although social media helps amplify a candidate's message, it doesn’t automatically translate to election wins. They’re "talking primarily to supporters," Stromer-Galley said, but that could include people out of state who won’t vote in that candidate’s election. 

There is no evidence of widespread fraud in the Arizona gubernatorial election, least of all because Hobbs has fewer Instagram followers than Lake. 

We rate that claim Pants on Fire!

Ciara O'Rourke
<![CDATA[ Instagram posts - Video isn’t evidence of recent robberies in Spain by migrants. It’s from a 2020 protest.]]>http://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2022/nov/18/instagram-posts/video-isnt-evidence-of-recent-robberies-in-spain-b/ Instagram posts - Video isn’t evidence of recent robberies in Spain by migrants. It’s from a 2020 protest.Fri, 18 Nov 2022 16:46:30 +0000http://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2022/nov/18/instagram-posts/video-isnt-evidence-of-recent-robberies-in-spain-b/

Migrants from Africa, the Middle East and Asia have been at the center of a humanitarian crisis in Europe. 

But a viral Instagram post baselessly claimed that the migrants are at the center of another problem in Spain. 

The Nov. 17 post shows a video of people wearing face masks who break into a store, run inside and come out with bicycles, scooters and other items. The video’s caption says, "Spain. The number of complaints about the robbery of local stores by migrants from the Middle East and Africa is rapidly growing in the country." 

This was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)

Though the Instagram post implies that the video is evidence of an increase in recent robberies, by migrants or anyone, it is not. The video is from 2020 and shows scenes from a protest against COVID-19 lockdown measures. 

On Oct. 30, 2020, Libertad Digital reported that people gathered in Barcelona’s city center to protest pandemic measures that had closed businesses such as bars, restaurants and theaters. The demonstration turned riotous when some protesters attacked police and threw barricades, rocks and other items, and broke into stores. A Twitter post dated Oct. 30, 2020, shows the same video from the Instagram post. 

The claim that this video is evidence of an increase in recent robberies in Spain by "migrants from the Middle East and Africa" is False. 

Gabrielle Settles
<![CDATA[Donald Trump - Trump vastly understates how much experts expect sea levels to rise]]>http://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2022/nov/17/donald-trump/trump-vastly-understates-how-much-experts-expect-s/Donald Trump - Trump vastly understates how much experts expect sea levels to riseThu, 17 Nov 2022 22:55:31 +0000http://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2022/nov/17/donald-trump/trump-vastly-understates-how-much-experts-expect-s/

Announcing his run to retake the White House, former President Donald Trump made a claim that seemed to ridicule expert projections about climate change.

Trump juxtaposed two global threats — nuclear war and rising sea levels — in his Nov. 15 announcement at his waterside Mar-a-Lago club and residence in Palm Beach, Florida.

"You cannot mention the nuclear word; it’s too devastating. The Green New Deal and the environment — which they say may affect us in 300 years — is all that is talked about. And yet nuclear weapons, which would destroy the world immediately, are never even discussed as a major threat. Can you imagine?" he said.

"They say the ocean will rise one-eighth of an inch over the next 200 to 300 years, but don't worry about nuclear weapons that can take out entire countries with one shot."

Trump’s quip got some laughter from the audience. But his dismissal of predictions for climate change-driven sea level rise is "so far from accurate as to appear to have been entirely fabricated," said Michael Oppenheimer, director of the Center for Policy Research on Energy and the Environment at Princeton University.

A Trump spokesperson did not respond to our emails.

Sea-level rise projections much higher than Trump’s claim

Trump made virtually the same claim as president during a 2019 rally. As our friends at FactCheck.org reported, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said then that global sea level was increasing by about one-eighth of an inch per year.

Reports issued in 2022 continue to dispel Trump’s claim:

  • NOAA reported that U.S. sea level in 2100 is projected to be around 2 feet higher on average than it was in 2000, "if we are able to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions." The estimate grows to 7.2 feet if on a "pathway with high greenhouse gas emissions and rapid ice sheet collapse."

  • The National Ocean Service, a part of the NOAA, predicted that sea level along the U.S. coastline is projected to rise, on average, 10 to 12 inches from 2020 to 2050 — as much as the rise that was measured from 1920 to 2020.

Gary Griggs, an earth sciences professor at the University of California, Santa Cruz, said the state of California has advised coastal communities to plan for sea level increases of between 1 foot and 2½ feet by 2050.

Griggs also said that NOAA’s tide gauge for Palm Beach shows a rise of 0.15 inches per year.

Impact of rising sea levels

Almost 30% of the U.S. population lives in relatively high population-density coastal areas "where sea level plays a role in flooding, shoreline erosion and hazards from storms," according to NOAA. 

In coastal urban areas around the world, roads, bridges, subways, water supplies, oil and gas wells, power plants, and other infrastructure "are all at risk from sea level rise," the NOAA report said.

Global warming is causing the global mean sea level to rise, because glaciers and ice sheets worldwide are melting and adding water to the ocean, and the ocean’s volume is expanding as the water warms, the agency said.

The nonprofit Climate Central projected in September that in the U.S., property with an assessed value of at least $108 billion is at risk from rising seas by 2100.

Our ruling

Trump said, "They say the ocean will rise one-eighth of an inch over the next 200 to 300 years."

Experts predict rises in sea level many times larger than what Trump claimed. One federal agency said that U.S. sea level in 2100 is projected to be at least 2 feet higher on average than it was in 2000, and that’s with greenhouse gas emissions reduced "significantly."

Trump’s statement is false and ridiculous — Pants on Fire!

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Tom Kertscher
<![CDATA[ Viral image - Photo of bagged ballots in California isn’t evidence of misconduct, contrary to claims]]>http://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2022/nov/17/viral-image/photo-of-bagged-ballots-in-california-isnt-evidenc/ Viral image - Photo of bagged ballots in California isn’t evidence of misconduct, contrary to claimsThu, 17 Nov 2022 22:47:14 +0000http://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2022/nov/17/viral-image/photo-of-bagged-ballots-in-california-isnt-evidenc/

The Associated Press called California’s gubernatorial election for incumbent Gov. Gavin Newsom on Nov. 8, just minutes after the polls closed.

Newsom won by a large margin over his Republican opponent, but recent social media posts have suggested that his victory was fraudulent. 

"Look at all of those ballots not counted in California and this is only one polling location," one tweet said. "Yet Gavin Newsom was declared governor minutes after polling stations closed."

An image in the tweet shows about a couple dozen gray duffel bags on the ground behind several people standing around folding tables bearing white boxes. 

"@gavinnewsom selected, not elected," said the caption on one Instagram post sharing a screenshot of the tweet.

It was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.)

The original tweet claims the image was taken at South El Monte Library in Los Angeles County on Nov. 10. 

But Mike Sanchez, a spokesperson for the county registrar’s office, told PolitiFact the picture was not taken there.

The image doesn’t show a polling place; the photo was taken nearly 4 miles away at the county’s vote-by-mail operation center in Industry, Sanchez said. That is where all absentee ballots are processed and verified before they’re moved to the county’s central vote-counting facility in Downey. 

The bags in the photo contained absentee ballots that were deposited in drop boxes on Election Day and then collected by election workers. After being processed and verified, they are moved to Downey to be tallied, a process that continues during the election canvassing period, Sanchez said. 

Sanchez noted that the county hasn’t declared Newsom the winner; news organizations like The Associated Press made the call based on the county’s unofficial election results. Those results are scheduled to be certified Dec. 5 after all eligible votes are tallied, Sanchez said. 

The Associated Press, which called the race for Newsom "minutes after the California polls closed" on election night, calls races once it "is fully confident a race has been won — defined most simply as the moment a trailing candidate no longer has a path to victory." 

As of Nov. 17, the secretary of state’s office estimated that 1.7 million ballots were still unprocessed in California.

"It typically takes weeks for counties to process and count all of the ballots," the office’s website said. "Election officials have approximately one month to complete their extensive tallying, auditing, and certification work (known as the official canvass.)"

As of Nov. 17, with all 25,554 precincts in California "partially reporting" their results, Newsom had about 5.4 million votes, or 59%, while state Sen. Brian Dahle, R-Bieber, had about 3.8 million votes, or 41%.

Dahle conceded on Nov. 9. 

Our ruling

The Instagram post claims that the photo shows uncounted ballots in California at a polling location and suggests that this is evidence of fraud, because Newsom was declared the governor shortly after polls closed. 

Several points are wrong here. 

The photo was taken at a county facility where election workers were processing and verifying absentee ballots. They were uncounted, because they had not yet been moved to the county’s central location for tallying votes. This process typically takes weeks, and it’s not evidence of fraud, as this post suggests. 

The Associated Press — not the state of California, which was still counting ballots as we wrote this fact-check — declared Newsom the winner after the polls closed. The Associated Press calls winners in races when it concludes there’s no way a trailing candidate can mount a successful comeback and clinch the race. 

California is expected to certify its election results Dec. 5, after all eligible ballots have been counted. 

The statement in the post contains an element of truth but ignores critical facts that would give a different impression, so we rate it Mostly False.

Ciara O'Rourke