A look at what didn’t happen last week
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.
Feds didn’t charge 412 Muslims in health scam
The more than 400 people U.S. prosecutors charged in a health care fraud scheme last year weren’t all Muslim nor from a single Midwestern state, despite claims in a story being shared widely online.
The story on the site mydeeptruth includes a misleading headline and provides no evidence that all the suspects are Muslim or from Michigan. The article blames Obama administration immigration policies for turning Michigan into what it calls a “Sharia swamp.”
Last July, federal prosecutors did charge at least 412 people in more than 20 states in connection with health care and opioid fraud scams, including more than 100 health care professionals. Thirty-two Medicare fraud cases were in the Eastern District of Michigan and some of the 96 people charged with defrauding Medicaid were in Michigan. Federal officials included no mention of the religion of the suspects.
At the time, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions called it the “largest health care fraud takedown operation in American history.”
Sites make false claim survivor not in school
Multiple online sites have wrongly claimed Florida school shooting survivor and gun-control activist David Hogg was not on campus during the mass shooting.
The erroneous information was based on a video to promote a CBS documentary on the student activists of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. The 8-minute video showed Hogg saying that on Feb. 14, he rode his bike 3 miles from his home to school, taking a camera with him. Stories shared on social media said that meant Hogg changed his story from an earlier account of being at school during the shooting, although some sites followed up with posts noting their misinterpretation.
Hogg huddled with other students during the shooting, using his cellphone to record those around him. Ashley Kurth, a culinary arts teacher, said she taught Hogg when he was a freshman. When the shooting erupted, Kurth sheltered students who had been outside her classroom.
“I physically grabbed David by the arm and pulled him into my room,” she said. “It is extremely frustrating the kind of information that is being put out there.”
In an interview with Vox published Feb. 20, Hogg specified the time of his bike ride: 6 p.m., after the shooting.
Government didn’t find cocaine in Coors Light
The U.S. government didn’t find Coors Light beer laced with cocaine, despite claims that originated on a satirical website.
The article claiming the Food and Drug Administration discovered “thousands” of contaminated beers nationwide first appeared in 2014 at the site huzlers. The claims continue to be shared via social media.
The story quoted an FDA employee named Arnold Francis and said the agency ordered Coors Light production halted for at least 30 days after thousands of people reported feeling “weird, high and even sick” after drinking the beer.
“This story is not true,” said FDA spokesman Peter Cassell.