A roundup of 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. The Associated Press checked them out. Here are the real facts:
ClaimVideo shows a rigged voting machine in Mississippi as a voter clicks the box for Bill Waller Jr. in the Republican primary runoff for governor and the machine switches the vote to Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves.
The factsThe video shows a voting machine malfunction in Lafayette County, Mississippi, during the Aug. 27 runoff. Posts sharing the false claim that the machine was deliberately rigged began circulating on Twitter after Nov. 5 off-year elections across the country.
The video was first shared in August during the Republican primary runoff. One video showing the malfunction, which marked the ballot for Reeves when Waller was pressed, recirculated during the November election with a caption that falsely said: “Voter Fraud ... Rigged Machines.” The Mississippi Secretary of State issued a news release on Aug. 27 explaining that the video showed a machine malfunction at the Burgess precinct in the city of Oxford. Nineteen votes were cast on the machine before authorities were made aware of the issue, according to the release. The machine was replaced after the issue was discovered.
“Each political party’s county executive committee is responsible for providing testing on TSX machines. Both parties contracted with the county election commission and the county technician to provide accuracy testing for this machine and the machine operated correctly prior to the election,” the news release said.
Reeves won the runoff and went on to defeat Democrat Jim Hood, the state attorney general, in the Nov. 5 elections.
ClaimThe young man pictured in photos with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Democratic Sen. Charles Schumer, Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is the whistleblower whose complaint sparked the Trump impeachment inquiry.
The factsThe man in the photo is Alex Soros, son of billionaire philanthropist George Soros. He is not the anonymous whistleblower whose complaint about a July 25 phone call between President Donald Trump and Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky sparked impeachment proceedings.
Posts with the false identification spread widely on Facebook and Twitter as public impeachment hearings began Wednesday. Rep. Steve King of Iowa amplified the false claim Thursday, tweeting the photos with the comment: “Adam Schiff said, “I do not know the identity of the whistleblower.” @RepAdamSchiff here are four strong clues.” King’s tweet was taken down Thursday after receiving more than 1,000 likes. He did not respond to requests for comment.
The photos were taken from Alex Soros’ Instagram and Twitter accounts. Alex and his father have been the target of conservative attacks for their ties to the Democratic party and liberal causes. Alex Soros serves as deputy chairman of the Open Society Foundations, a philanthropic organization founded by his father.
ClaimVideo shows sanitation trucks surrounding Madison Square in New York to protect Trump from booing protesters.
The factsSanitation trucks were lined up strategically around Madison Square Park when President Donald Trump spoke at the launch of the New York City Veterans Day Tribute on Nov. 11, but they were there for security purposes, a common occurrence at events that draw large crowds.
“Trash trucks surrounding Trump in Madison Square to protect him from the booing is the perfect metaphor,” said a tweet with the video of the event, which was viewed more than 600,000 times.
Officials with the New York City Police Department and the Department of Sanitation confirmed to the AP that sanitation trucks are often used for security at big events, including the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and the New Year’s Eve celebration in Times Square. The trucks are used as “part of our counterterrorism overlay, not unique to this visit,” Lt. Eugene Whyte, of the NYPD’s public information office, told the AP.
ClaimThe city of Dallas opened a convention center for people seeking shelter from the cold and then police arrested people with unpaid tickets who tried to enter.
The factsThe Dallas Police Department told the AP that no arrests were made for parking tickets or nonviolent offenses.
A cold front swept through Texas on Monday sending temperatures plummeting into the 20s. Because of the cold weather, Dallas officials opened the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center for those seeking shelter. The Dallas Police Department offered security Monday night at the shelter.
“To ensure the safety of all individuals, each person was notified upon entering the shelter that they were subject to checks for registered sex offenders,” the police department said in a statement. “In addition, if an individual had active warrants for sex offenses, serious felonies and violent crimes, they were subject to arrest.”
The department made 11 arrests that night on outstanding warrants for crimes including sexual assault of a child.
“No one was arrested for unpaid parking tickets,” the statement said. “That claim is not true.”
Anastasia Reed, senior public affairs officer for the city, also confirmed in an email that people with minor, nonviolent and non-felony warrants were permitted to stay overnight. Police officers also conducted checks Tuesday night.
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.