Trumpy Bear in time for Christmas, Facebook censoring religious imagery and dead voters still on the electoral rolls: these are the stories flooding our newsfeed this week…but which one of them is actually true?
Every week we share millions of stories in our newsfeeds, but how many of us actually read the articles, let alone check to ensure they are not *Trump voice* Fake news…? We get it, you are busy. You have a life, family, kids, job, friends and you don’t have time to be a fact checker. Don’t worry, we have nothing else in our lives except this, so we can check it for you. This week we are taking aim at the three stories that have been mass shared across social media feeds over the past week, but only one of them is actually true.
Internet curio #1: Were 53,000 dead people found on the recent Florida State voter rolls in 2018?
It has been an ongoing debate in America around voter fraud, and stories were rife when an article started circulating that 53,000 dead people are still on the voting rolls in Florida, and this comes after the fact that Donald Trump had also shared articles from 2012 which claimed that 200,000 people who voted in Florida may not actually be citizens. This was found to be incorrect, with records eventually showing that county election supervisors checked and rectified the rolls. The article currently being circulated is actually from six years ago on Fox News, finding that 53,000 dead people were still registered on voting rolls in Florida but not suggesting that those 53,000 people had voted (implied Democrats) in any recent elections. Laws around purging of voting rolls has recently been debated across the country in an attempt to ensure that voters who have missed elections and/or not responded to a notice from election officials can be removed from the roll.
Result: FAKE NEWS
Internet curio #2: Facebook is deleting photos of a wooden cross carved out to honour firefighters.
An image has been excessively shared on Facebook recently, with the caption along the lines of “Firefighters carved this cross in honour of the fallen in Redding. Facebook deleted it, let’s share it like crazy.” By excessive, we mean it’s been shared over 500,000 times. Currently, the image that these posts are referring to are actually still live on Facebook, however the insinuation was that Facebook is trying to censor religious content. Spam posts that ask users to like and share are rife on Facebook, with users sensitive to the fact that they feel Facebook has been politically biased in the past, and as a form of backlash to the recent findings around how the platform uses their data. While it has been found to be true that Facebook has been criticised for deleting posts where users have criticised government (e.g.; Facebook on average deletes 15,000 posts in Germany), it was not found that Facebook had any reason or intent to delete a post in honour of fallen Firefighters.
Result: FAKE NEWS
Internet curio #3: Trumpy Bear is a real product, and kids round America want it for Christmas!
While many Trump products have been made available since Donald took office, from Stormy Daniels shirts to toilet paper, it has been rare that a product has been aimed to be something many children would want – especially for Christmas! Yet, here we are, with the Trumpy Bear product that is currently being circulated on social media, with a video advertisement claiming “The fearless, super-plush American grizzly! Even the toughest guys will love Trumpy Bear.” Twitter and Facebook fast started buzzing with posts about how they love the new Trumpy Bear and want him for Christmas, while many asked if the video advertisement was actually just great satire that is going over most people’s heads. The truth is somewhere in between, most likely. While we suspect that Trumpy Bear was created as a satirical product, the truth is it’s a legitimate product available since mid-2017 for sale and yes, people are likely going to find it under their tree this Christmas!!
Result: TRUE STORY