Actress Betty White died on New Years Eve, three weeks before her 100th birthday. Born on January 17, 1922, the Oak Park native quickly became the subject of misinformation.
Social media users shared the quote, “Eat healthy and get all your vaccines. I got a boost today,” reportedly posted by White on Dec. 28.
Some commentators linked the vaccine to her death.
“That third jab was the charm,” wrote one Facebook user. “Raised on the 28th, dead on the 31st. Getting poked is like playing Russian roulette with a Glock 17, a 9mm.”
But White hasn’t posted anything about receiving a vaccine, according to Reuters.
“Betty White never said those words, NEVER,” her manager, Jeff Witjas, Reuters told.
The post, with the fake quote and a photo of White, includes a link to an online article about White. But the article doesn’t mention the vaccine or the booster shots.
Witjas told People magazine that White died peacefully of natural causes in her home.
Trump hasn’t cut Social Security
A political group’s post, linked to a petition to increase Social Security benefits, alleges former President Donald Trump has taken down the program.
“Trump has cut Social Security benefits by more than $3 BILLION,” begins a Nov. 10 Facebook post by the Congressional Progressive Caucus, a group focused on electing progressives.
But Trump hasn’t cut Social Security, according to PolitiFact.
PolitiFact’s “Trump-O-Meter” Assesses His 2015 Campaign Promise to “not cut Social Security like any other Republican” as a “promise.”
However, Trump proposed Social Security cuts that haven’t happened.
In 2020, the former president talked about abolishing the payroll tax that funds Social Security and his 2021 budget suggested scrapping two programs run by Social Security.
Results inaccurate if the test is used incorrectly
Videos circulating on social media show COVID-19 home tests, after being doused with tap water, with a positive result. Some users claim that the tests have been found to be inaccurate.
“Now I look even deeper, is it the water??? Am I really positive?” asked one Facebook user.
No, the coronavirus is not in the water, according to The Associated Press. And the test result is not accurate because the test is used incorrectly.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have said that COVID-19 has not been detected in tap water, and the World Health Organization has reported that the virus is not transmissible through water.
A spokesperson for Abbott Laboratories, which produces one of the home tests, told the AP that failure to follow instructions could lead to invalid results.
“Spreading misinformation involving deliberate misuse of a medical product during a pandemic is misleading, irresponsible and dangerous to public health,” the spokesperson said.
Certain animals still endangered
A Facebook post last month claimed that certain animals are no longer in danger of extinction, despite reports that humans are accelerating the decline of some species by disrupting their habitats and contributing to climate change.
“You should go outside more. Polar bears have increased 400% in 45 years. Whales have almost fully recovered. Extinctions have decreased by 90% in the last century (IUCN). Koalas are doing well,” read the post from one account named Climate Change is Crap.
But it’s not going well according to FactCheck.org.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature, or IUCN, classifies polar bears as “vulnerable,” meaning the species could face extinction worldwide. This is mainly because climate change is causing the sea ice to melt.
As for the whales, some species remain “critically endangered,” the IUCN reports.
The International Whaling Commission said that while some whale species are recovering, others remain endangered.
“Whaling has been replaced by other man-made hazards, such as bycatch, ship strikes, ocean noise and other forms of habitat degradation, as the main threats to cetaceans,” the group’s website said.
According to the Australian Koala Foundation, there are fewer than 100,000 koalas left in the wild.
Koalas are in serious decline and are suffering the effects of habitat destruction, domestic dog attacks, wildfires and road accidents.
• Bob Oswald is a veteran journalist from the Chicago area and former news editor of the Elgin Courier-News. Contact him at [email protected]