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

This Jan. 24, 2006, file photo shows characters from the movie "Monsters Inc." in the lobby of Pixar headquarters in Emeryville, Calif. On March 29, 2019, The Associated Press has found that stories circulating on the internet that Disney-Pixar are to release “Boo,” a film spinoff from the animated “Monsters, Inc.” franchise, in July 2020, are untrue. | Associated Press photo by Paul Sakuma, 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: Disney-Pixar to release “Boo,” a film spinoff from the animated “Monsters, Inc.” franchise, in July 2020.

THE FACTS: Disney is not releasing a sequel to the popular animated buddy movie “Monsters, Inc.” this summer, despite social media posts circulating what appears to be a movie poster for “Boo,” which is the name of the child featured in the 2001 movie.

The poster, which shows a grown-up Boo with a teddy bear standing in a doorway, says “SHE KNOWS MONSTERS ARE REAL. JULY 2020.”

The same poster circulated widely in 2016. At that time, an Instagram user took credit for the poster saying it represented a concept for a movie. A Disney-Pixar spokeswoman, who declined to be identified by name, told The Associated Press in an email that Pixar is not releasing “Boo” in 2020 and has no such movie in the works.

According to Associated Press reporting, CEO Bob Iger said Disney is planning a “Monsters, Inc.” series for its upcoming streaming service.

– Associated Press writer Beatrice Dupuy in New York reported this item.


NOT REAL: California Rep. Maxine Waters, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders have passed only six bills during their combined 67 years in office.

This combination of 2019 file photos shows House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Sen. Bernie Sanders and House Financial Services Committee Chair Maxine Waters. On March 29, 2019, The Associated Press has found that stories circulating on the internet that the three legislators passed only six bills during their combined 67 years in office, are untrue. | Associated Press photo by J. Scott Applewhite, Steven Senne, St. George News

THE FACTS: The three Democratic members of Congress have together served more than 80 years and have sponsored a total of 13 bills that became law. The false claim about their combined years of service and number of bills passed is circulating on Facebook.

According to Congress.Gov, the government’s official website for federal legislative information, Waters has sponsored three bills in her 28 years in office, all of which have passed, including the National Flood Insurance Program Extension Act of 2010.

Sanders has sponsored three bills that have passed during his 28 years in office, including the Veterans Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act, which increased rates of compensation for disabled veterans.

Pelosi, who was voted speaker of the house for the second time in January, has sponsored seven bills that have been enacted during her 32 years, including the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008, which was introduced to address the mortgage crisis, and the Economic Stimulus Act of 2008, which was passed to help boost the economy. In her time as House speaker, she has played a major role in passing numerous bills, including well-known laws like the Affordable Care Act.

– Associated Press writer Beatrice Dupuy in New York reported this item.


NOT REAL: Muslims in California are asking people to not decorate for Easter or Christmas this year out of respect.

THE FACTS: There have been no documented cases of any prominent Muslim leaders or Islamic organizations in California requesting that people not decorate for Easter or Christmas this year, as posts circulating social media suggest. This claim was circulating widely days after a mosque in Escondido, California, was set on fire, and weeks after the attacks in New Zealand.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations, the nation’s largest Islam and civil rights advocacy group, said the claim was baseless and conspiratorial in nature.

“I’ve never in my life heard Muslims say you can’t decorate for Easter, Christmas or whatever,” Ibrahim Hooper, CAIR national communications director, told The Associated Press. “Muslims are not opposed to Christians celebrating Easter, they just don’t celebrate it themselves.

Ishaq Pathan, deputy director of Islamic Networks Group, said his organization had not heard of any such reports.

“I’m inclined to believe it’s a hoax,” he said.

– Associated Press writer Joseph Gedeon in Phoenix reported this item.


NOT REAL: Along similar lines, circulating video footage is said to show Muslims rallying in New York City demanding their “Sharia Rights.”

THE FACTS: A video circulating on social media that claims to show Muslims in New York rallying for Sharia law has been falsely captioned. The footage was taken during the March 24 “United Against Islamophobia” rally in Times Square.

Muslim leaders and allies held the march to combat Islamophobia and show solidarity following the mosque attacks in New Zealand, where at least 50 people were killed on March 15. Hossam Gamea, outreach director for Majlis Ash-Shura: Islamic Leadership Council of New York, one of the organizers of the event, confirmed to The Associated Press that the footage showed the Sunday rally against Islamophobia.

– Associated Press writer Beatrice Dupuy in New York reported this item.


Find all AP Fact Checks here.

Written by The Associated Press.

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