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: Meddling globalist George Soros named as the puppet master behind student gun control push
The facts: Billionaire liberal philanthropist George Soros isn’t bankrolling student survivors pushing for gun control after the Feb. 14 Florida school shooting. False stories claimed Soros, a frequent target of conspiracy theories, is directing student activists as part of a “National Gun Control Movement” and is connected to a group organizing March 14 school walkouts against gun violence. His spokeswoman, Laura Silber, said he is not providing any funding to the students and that his foundation doesn’t currently fund organizations working to prevent gun violence.
Not real: FDA Announced That Vaccines Are Causing Autism!
The facts: Some websites misrepresented an old vaccine label to claim the U.S. Food and Drug Administration had announced vaccines cause autism. Researchers have debunked claims that vaccines can lead to autism and the FDA has made no such announcement. Autism was listed as an “adverse event” on a 2005 label for Sanofi Pasteur’s Tripedia childhood vaccine for diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis. At the time, consumers generated the “adverse event” reports, which were automatically added to the label even if there was no plausible connection to the product. The vaccine in question hasn’t been on the market in years.
Not real: Cadbury Confirms It Has Stopped Making Chocolate
The facts: Water supply problems affected a Cadbury plant after freezing weather in England, but the company never stopped making candy. A false story made that claim after bitter weather followed by a thaw led to burst pipes in the Birmingham area. That’s where Cadbury’s flagship Bournville factory produces Dairy Milk chocolate bars, Easter creme eggs and other treats. Cadbury says there was a limited supply of water for a brief period, but sweets production never came to a halt.
Not real: Ireland’s Prime Minister to Bring in One-Million Migrants. Farewell Ireland.
The facts: The new Ireland 2040 government plan to address population growth isn’t an outline for “nation-destruction” that will bring in 1 million immigrants from Muslim countries. Several websites incorrectly tied the entire projected increase to immigrants, and said they would be “likely Muslims” from Afghanistan, Africa, the Middle East and Pakistan. Ireland never specified where immigrants would come from in the plan, and the largest group moving to the country in recent years is that of people returning to their native Ireland.
Not real: Legendary actor Kirk Douglas dead, 4 days before his 101st Birthday
The facts: Douglas celebrated his 101st birthday on Dec. 9, and appeared to a standing ovation at the Golden Globes in January for a tribute. The YourAction News3 site, which said he died of natural causes, has reported death hoaxes before. The “Lust for Life” and “Spartacus” star is the father of actor Michael Douglas and one of the last living legends of Hollywood’s golden age.
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.