A roundup of some of the most popular but completely untrue headlines of the week. None of these stories is legit, even though they were shared widely on social media. The Associated Press checked these out. Here are the real facts:
NOT REAL: Sheriff Scott Israel Linked To Terror-Supporting Islamic Groups!
THE FACTS: Photographs of the Florida sheriff with one of his deputies, a Muslim American, prompted many sites’ false claims that Scott Israel had terror ties. Nezar Hamze, who appeared in a video shot in 2015 with Scott Israel, blamed bias against Muslims for the claims. Hamze also works for the Florida branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, which some sites called a “terror group.” The United States has not designated CAIR a terror group. The stories appeared alongside criticism of the office’s response to the school shooting that killed 17 people.
NOT REAL: Breaking: California will automatically register to vote people who enter US illegally
THE FACTS: A piece on the rednewspaper site falsely stated that a new state law requires applicants for voter registration to only prove their residency, not whether they are in the state legally. The law automatically registers people to vote when they get a driver’s license, an ID card, or update their address with the Department of Motor Vehicles. The state says safeguards are in place to ensure only U.S. citizens go through the voter registration process; workers cannot enter anything in the voter registration section of the application for people without citizenship.
NOT REAL: Obama announces bid to become UN Secretary General
THE FACTS: The former president’s office said Obama is happy as a private citizen and never campaigned to head the global body. A story appeared on more than two dozen conservative websites saying Obama privately campaigned for the job to advance “his globalist agenda.” The Trump administration would have also been able to veto the selection, as one of five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council that nominates any candidates. The secretary general is Antonio Guterres.
NOT REAL: Expert confirms flu shot behind deadly epidemic that killed thousands
THE FACTS: Experts agree you cannot get the flu from a flu shot. Some “natural” health websites have misrepresented remarks of a Wisconsin county public health nurse, Anna Treague, who was trying to explain to a local newspaper why this year’s influenza vaccine was not as effective as other years. The sites falsely claim that health officials say the influenza epidemic is caused by the vaccine itself. Treague tells The Associated Press she never said that. Federal health officials are working to understand better why this year’s vaccine isn’t as effective, but have never said the vaccine caused the disease.
NOT REAL: Trump wants to deport American Indians to India
THE FACTS: Using fabricated tweets attributed to the president and quotes he never said to Fox News, a satire site falsely reported President Donald Trump proposed sending the about 3 million American Indians “back” to India. The Postillon site claimed Trump proposed deportation because Native Americans had no “relevant immigration documents.” Native Americans were granted U.S. citizenship in 1924 and were North America’s earliest settlers. The story was linked to an unrelated photo of Trump speaking to troops at an Air Force base.
This is part of The Associated Press’ ongoing effort to fact-check misinformation that is shared widely online, including work with Facebook to identify and reduce the circulation of false stories on the platform.