Fake News Friday: A look at what didn’t happen this week

In this Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018, file photo, Georgia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams speaks to supporters during an election night watch party in Atlanta. On Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2018, The Associated Press has found that stories circulating on the internet that U.S. District Judge Leslie Abrams, sister of the gubernatorial hopeful, presided over a complaint related to the too-close-to-call governor’s race, are untrue. | Associated Press photo by John Amis, St. George News

(AP) — The following is part of The Associated Press’ ongoing effort to fact-check misinformation that is shared widely online and work with Facebook to identify and reduce the circulation of false stories on the platform.

This brief roundup offers some of the most popular but completely untrue stories and visuals of the week. None of these is legit, even though they were shared widely on social media.

NOT REAL: Georgia Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Stacey Abrams’ sister did not handle election case.

THE FACTS: U.S. District Judge Leslie Abrams, sister of Georgia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, did not preside over a complaint related to the too-close-to-call governor’s race, as reports circulating online suggest.

The Georgia Democratic Party’s lawsuit against Dougherty County was filed in the Middle District of Georgia’s federal court, where Leslie Abrams was confirmed to the bench in 2014. Most federal courts assign cases to judges randomly, including the Middle District of Georgia. Judge Abrams was randomly assigned to the case Nov. 8, but it was reassigned to U.S. District Judge W. Louis Sands on the same day and before any action was taken on the case, court records show.

The shift was in keeping with the court’s procedure when there is a conflict of interest, according to David W. Bunt, the clerk of court for the Middle District of Georgia.

NOT REAL: Aerial photo does not shows clouds over California wildfire

THE FACTS: A photo of a blanket of gray clouds over a glowing red background was not taken over the recent California wildfires, despite reports identifying it that way on social media. The photo was actually taken in July by Nathan Province over Honolulu, and shows altocumulus clouds during a sunset.

Province told The Associated Press that the photo was taken about 7 p.m. from an altitude of around 30,000 feet while he was on a flight to Hawaii. Province said he took the photo with his cellphone about 30 minutes before landing and later posted it to social media.

“I think it’s nice that people like the scenery and the beauty of Hawaii, but it is sad that people are using it continually for fake news,” Province said in a text message.

NOT REAL: Planned Parenthood did not release an ad saying a baby ‘deserves to be a choice.’

THE FACTS: Planned Parenthood did not release a video advertisement featuring a baby with text saying she deserves to be a choice, despite numerous reports being shared online. Social media users are creating false captions and recirculating the video, released by The Agenda Project Action Fund in 2015, to make it appear as the work of Planned Parenthood.

Erica Sackin, Planned Parenthood Federation of America spokeswoman, said the organization did not produce the video, nor is it associated with it in any way. In the ad, a baby in a stocking cap coos and smiles between sentences stating: “She deserves to be loved. She deserves to be wanted. She deserves to be a choice. #StandWithPP.”

The video was created by a branch of The Advanced Project, a progressive activist organization, and uploaded to its YouTube channel. Erica Payne, founder of the organization, told the AP that she put out the video after she had a baby at the age of 45. Payne said it was her way of expressing how children are miracles.

“They deserve to be loved, wanted and a choice,” she said.

NOT REAL: Time magazine did not release a cover stating toxic vaccines are ‘Poisoning of An Entire Generation.’

THE FACTS: A Time magazine cover circulating online that claims an entire generation has been poisoned by toxic vaccines was fabricated. The false cover has a headline stating “The Poisoning Of An Entire Generation,” along with text that says, “Toxic vaccines. Sick kids. And the incompetent leaders who betrayed them.”

The false cover was taken from Time’s Feb. 1, 2016, issue which featured a story on the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, with the headline, “The Poisoning Of An American City.” Both covers use the same photo of a young child, but the original does not include a syringe with needle in the photo.

The subtitles on the real cover say, “Toxic water. Sick Kids. And the incompetent leaders who betrayed Flint.” A Time spokesperson confirmed to the AP that the cover was not the work of the magazine, and provided a link on how to identify false Time covers.

Find all AP Fact Checks here.

Written by The Associated Press.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Free News Delivery by Email

Would you like to have the day's news stories delivered right to your inbox every evening? Enter your email below to start!


  • commonsense November 17, 2018 at 8:29 pm

    I’m very active in politics on social media and have seen none of the aforementioned stories.
    It seems that AP is manufacturing stories to discredit certain political groups in hopes that the commercial media will be perceived as a valid sources of factual information and social media is putting out fake news. Interesting twist.

    • Comment November 18, 2018 at 1:31 pm

      “I’m very active in politics on social media”

      The librulz dunnit! am i right?

      i’m thankful I only have to see what you write on just this 1 site.


  • jaltair November 18, 2018 at 4:02 am

    It’s the Russians!

  • Redbud November 18, 2018 at 5:13 am

    CNN = Fake News

  • Comment November 18, 2018 at 1:34 pm

    “Planned Parenthood did not release an ad saying a baby ‘deserves to be a choice.’”


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.