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            "slug": "inside-unprecedented-struggle-contain-coronavirus-",
            "personalities": [],
            "headline": "Inside the ‘unprecedented’ struggle to contain coronavirus scams",
            "entry": "<p>Scott Zalkind was just trying to keep his one-man business safe.</p>\n\n<p>As the owner of Lucky Dog Hot Sauce in Hayward, Calif., Zalkind relies on farmers markets to make sales. So when the markets started to require face masks, he started shopping around online. With the <a href=\"https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2020/03/16/814929294/covid-19-has-caused-a-shortage-of-face-masks-but-theyre-surprisingly-hard-to-mak\">nationwide shortage</a> from COVID-19, it took a while before he found some that were described as &quot;N95 filter masks.&quot; They were being sold by a Chinese company he had never heard of.</p>\n\n<p>&quot;I found this one site and I thought, &lsquo;It&rsquo;s double the price but screw it &mdash; I need them,&rsquo;&quot; Zalkind said.</p>\n\n<p>Zalkind purchased a pack of five &mdash; the masks cost $10 each plus a $10 shipping fee &mdash; and they took three weeks to arrive. The package was thinner than he expected for a set of bulky N95s, <a href=\"https://www.politifact.com/article/2020/apr/01/are-homemade-face-masks-effective-against-covid-19/\">which filter out</a> at least 95% of airborne particles.</p>\n\n<p>When he opened it, Zalkind saw that the masks were labeled as KN95s. They had no filter. He complained to the company, but it sent him only a partial refund.&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>&quot;It&rsquo;s a straight bait-and-switch,&quot; he said. &quot;I can&rsquo;t be the only one they did this to.&quot;</p>\n\n<p>He isn&rsquo;t. Americans have reported more than 32,000 cases of coronavirus-related fraud, <a href=\"https://www.ftc.gov/system/files/attachments/coronavirus-covid-19-consumer-complaint-data/covid-19-daily-public-complaints-052820.pdf\">according to</a> the Federal Trade Commission. The agency estimates that consumers have lost $3.6 million in online shopping alone, though it&rsquo;s hard to say with certainty since not everyone files a complaint when they&rsquo;ve been scammed.</p>\n\n<p>The onslaught of fraud complaints has left federal and state regulators scrambling to stop scammers looking to cash in on the coronavirus outbreak. But with no end to the pandemic in sight, and businesses exploiting social media platforms like Facebook to sell their bogus products, hundreds of thousands of Americans run the risk of being ripped off.&nbsp;</p>\n\n<div class=\"artembed\">See Figure 1 on PolitiFact.com</div>\n\n<p><em>In this March 19, 2020 photo, a shopper looks for toilet paper at a Stop &amp; Shop supermarket during hours open daily only for seniors in North Providence, R.I. (AP)</em></p>\n\n<p>The breadth of fraudulent products is &quot;amazing,&quot; said Rich Cleland, assistant director of advertising practices at the federal Bureau of Consumer Protection. And it&rsquo;s not just claims of undelivered or unusable personal protective equipment.</p>\n\n<p>The agency is flooded by reports of products that falsely claim to prevent or treat COVID-19. The absence of an effective treatment for COVID-19 tempts worried consumers to take a chance on sketchy companies they see on their news feeds or Google searches. (To prevent infection, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention <a href=\"https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/prevention.html\">advises people</a> to wash their hands regularly, avoid touching their face and wear masks in public.)</p>\n\n<p>It&rsquo;s <a href=\"https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/21/355\">against federal law</a> to sell a drug that&rsquo;s unapproved or unproven to treat a certain illness, according to the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. It&rsquo;s also illegal to <a href=\"https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/21/352\">misbrand</a> a drug and <a href=\"https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/21/331\">sell it</a>. The Food and Drug Administration enforces the law in partnership with the FTC, <a href=\"https://www.ftc.gov/enforcement/statutes/federal-trade-commission-act\">which regulates</a> deceptive business practices.</p>\n\n<p>Since March, the FTC <a href=\"https://www.ftc.gov/coronavirus/enforcement/warning-letters\">has sent</a> more than 180 warning letters to companies, individuals and organizations that allegedly violated federal law by falsely claiming their products can treat or prevent COVID-19. The FDA also <a href=\"https://www.fda.gov/consumers/health-fraud-scams/fraudulent-coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19-products\">has sent</a> scores of warnings to firms selling bogus products. The offending businesses range from <a href=\"https://www.ftc.gov/system/files/warning-letters/covid-19-letter_to_natural_herbal_life_inc.pdf\">herb companies</a> in California to <a href=\"https://www.ftc.gov/system/files/warning-letters/covid-19-letter_to_dap_fuller_life_chiropractic.pdf\">chiropractors</a> in Georgia.</p>\n\n<p>&quot;The numbers of warning letters that we have sent out are really unprecedented,&quot; Cleland said. &quot;I&rsquo;ve worked through various public health scares before, like SARS and Ebola. We sent out warning letters in those cases, and the numbers of warning letters all combined don&rsquo;t equal the number that we&rsquo;ve sent out related to COVID-19.&quot;</p>\n\n<p>States hard-hit by the pandemic, such as Michigan and New York, <a href=\"https://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/states-crack-down-coronavirus-scammers-n1151116\">have taken</a> similar steps to contain coronavirus-related scams. Just at the state level, <a href=\"https://www.michigan.gov/coronavirus/0,9753,7-406-98163-522347--,00.html\">there are hundreds</a> of consumer complaints to sift through.</p>\n\n<p>&quot;We usually average about 80 calls&quot; per day, Joe Potchen, chief of the Michigan Consumer Protection Bureau, said in early May. &quot;Now we&rsquo;re averaging over 250 calls a day.&quot;&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>Consumer protection agencies are used to dealing with rogue operators scamming people for money. But coronavirus-related scams have the potential to cause more harm than a standard financial scam. Fraudulent testing kits and substandard face masks could give people a false sense of security, regulators fear, while misused products like bleach or silver solution could land them in the hospital.&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>&quot;You&rsquo;re really talking about a situation in which you might be killing people,&quot; said Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel.</p>\n\n<div class=\"pf_subheadline\">Regulators target coronavirus scammers</div>\n\n<p>On a Feb. 12 broadcast of his talk show, televangelist Jim Bakker <a href=\"https://www.npr.org/2020/03/11/814550474/missouri-sues-televangelist-jim-bakker-for-selling-fake-coronavirus-cure\">held up</a> a blue and silver bottle in front of his guest, &quot;naturopathic doctor&quot; Sherrill Sellman.&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>&quot;This influenza that is now circling the globe,&quot; Bakker said, incorrectly describing the coronavirus as a flu. &quot;You&#39;re saying that Silver Solution would be effective.&quot;</p>\n\n<p>Sellman responded: &quot;Well, let&#39;s say it hasn&#39;t been tested on this strain of the coronavirus, but it has been tested on other strains of the coronavirus and has been able to eliminate it within 12 hours.&quot;</p>\n\n<p>A message on the screen said 4-ounce bottles of Silver Solution could be yours for $80. There was just one problem &mdash; the product <a href=\"https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/consumer-health/expert-answers/colloidal-silver/faq-20058061\">isn&rsquo;t proven</a> to treat any illness, including COVID-19.&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>According to the FTC, Bakker, who&rsquo;s based in Missouri, violated federal law by promoting a bogus medical cure. On <a href=\"https://ago.mo.gov/home/news/2020/03/10/ag-schmitt-files-suit-against-jim-bakker-for-selling-fake-coronavirus-cure\">March 10</a>, the state of Missouri <a href=\"https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2020/03/11/jim-bakker-coronavirus-cure/\">sued</a> him for it, after which Silver Solution was removed from Bakker&rsquo;s online store.</p>\n\n<p>The Bakker example was just one of several prominent coronavirus-related scams circulating in March, when searches for purported COVID-19 cures started to spike.</p>\n\n<div class=\"artembed\">See Figure 2 on PolitiFact.com</div>\n\n<p>Around the same time, wellness influencers on Instagram <a href=\"https://www.wired.com/story/coronavirus-anxieties-soar-wellness-influencers-step-in/\">started promoting</a> supplements as ways to prevent the coronavirus. Social media accounts <a href=\"https://www.vox.com/recode/2020/4/17/21221692/digital-black-market-covid-19-coronavirus-instagram-twitter-ebay\">tried selling</a> fake at-home testing kits. Some scammers in Los Angeles <a href=\"https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2020-04-14/coronavirus-home-test-treatment-scams\">even went door to door</a> hawking protective equipment in an attempt to get personal information of Medicare beneficiaries.</p>\n\n<p>The flood of scam reports hasn&rsquo;t slowed down since those early weeks.</p>\n\n<p>&quot;Every day I seem to start out further behind than I was the day before,&quot; Cleland said.</p>\n\n<p>On the website for Consumer Reports, a nonprofit consumer protection organization, <a href=\"https://www.consumerreports.org/stories?questionnaireId=140\">there are dozens of stories</a> like Zalkind&rsquo;s with the masks. Some saw ads that claimed ultraviolet light, copper and charcoal could help treat or prevent the virus. Others bought face masks online, but never received them.</p>\n\n<p>&quot;I got hosed by fullerspace.com trying to buy masks. I think I found them from a Facebook or Instagram ad,&quot; Eric Weir, an Illinois resident who said he lost about $53, told PolitiFact. &quot;After my masks didn&#39;t ship, and didn&#39;t ship, and didn&#39;t ship, I finally Googled them and found all of the reviews that said they were a scam and never actually ship product.&quot;</p>\n\n<p>Public-domain records show Fullerspace.com was registered in late March. It <a href=\"https://www.sitejabber.com/reviews/fullerspace.com\">has dozens of one-star reviews</a> on SiteJabber, which lets users rate online businesses to avoid falling for scams. Other scam websites <a href=\"https://www.nbcbayarea.com/investigations/consumer/feds-work-to-snag-fake-covid-19-test-kits-bogus-virus-products/2282195/\">have used keywords</a> like &quot;coronavirus&quot; and &quot;covid&quot; in URLs to try to attract more visitors.</p>\n\n<p>&quot;Many of these are small, at-home businesses. Some are larger clinics,&quot; Cleland said. &quot;They go online and they read this stuff and they believe what they see, and they pass that on to consumers to try to promote the sale of their product.&quot;</p>\n\n<p>Whether scammers believe their products work, the motivation is consistent: turn a profit. &quot;It doesn&rsquo;t matter whether they&rsquo;re selling toasters or CBD vaccines or masks that they&rsquo;re never going to deliver,&quot; said Cleland.</p>\n\n<div class=\"artembed\">See Figure 4 on PolitiFact.com</div>\n\n<p><em>(From top right) Unapproved COVID-19 tests seized at JFK Airport in New York; A&nbsp;phony coronavirus cure that a British man tried to smuggle into the United States; Counterfeit 3M masks confiscated at the Cincinnati LUK airport in Cincinnati. (AP)</em></p>\n\n<p>The FTC works with state agencies to <a href=\"https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/media-resources/truth-advertising/about-ftc-warning-letters\">send warnings</a> and injunctions to companies that make false claims about their products.</p>\n\n<p>The FTC&rsquo;s warning letters don&rsquo;t have the force of a legal injunction, but Cleland said they are frequently effective in getting businesses to remove false or misleading marketing language about the coronavirus.</p>\n\n<p>Linda Pavek received hers in an April 22 email. Within an hour, she complied.</p>\n\n<p>&quot;I was stunned,&quot; said Pavek, the owner of CopperTouch, a Minnesota company that sells &quot;antimicrobial copper.&quot; &quot;I immediately contacted my two science advisers, and we contacted our website manager to take down anything on our website that pertained to the terminology of coronavirus or COVID.&quot;</p>\n\n<p>PolitiFact reached out to dozens of the businesses to which the FTC and FDA issued joint warnings. We heard back from four of them.</p>\n\n<p>While each business removed language from its website about treating or preventing the coronavirus, all of them said they stood by their products. Some sent us research articles to try to substantiate their claims.</p>\n\n<p><strong><em>RELATED:</em> <a href=\"https://www.politifact.com/article/2020/mar/26/fact-checking-covid-19-prevention-treatment-myths/\">Fact-checking COVID-19 prevention, treatment myths</a></strong></p>\n\n<p>But not everyone heeds the warning. And those that don&rsquo;t can expect a follow-up from the FTC.</p>\n\n<p>On April 27, the FTC filed <a href=\"https://www.ftc.gov/system/files/documents/cases/dkt._13_stipulation_to_pi.pdf\">a preliminary injunction</a> barring Marc Ching, the owner of Los Angeles-based Whole Leaf Organics, from claiming that one of the company&rsquo;s supplements could prevent or treat COVID-19. The product consists mainly of &quot;vitamin C and herbal extracts,&quot; according to the FTC.</p>\n\n<p>&quot;There&rsquo;s no proof that any product will prevent or treat COVID-19 or that any CBD product will treat cancer,&quot; Andrew Smith, director of the Bureau of Consumer Protection, said <a href=\"https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/press-releases/2020/04/thrive-supplement-marketer-agrees-preliminary-order-barring-him\">in a statement</a>. &quot;Let&rsquo;s be clear: Companies making these claims can look forward to an FTC lawsuit like this one.&quot;</p>\n\n<p>Ching agreed to comply with the injunction. PolitiFact reached out to him for comment, but we haven&rsquo;t heard back.</p>\n\n<div class=\"pf_subheadline\">Scammers get a boost from social media</div>\n\n<p>In nearly all of the FTC warning letters that PolitiFact analyzed, social media accounts were listed as one of the primary ways the agency found false treatment claims.</p>\n\n<p>Social-media platforms like Facebook and Instagram have adopted policies to reduce the spread of misinformation about coronavirus treatment and prevention. But they are still a key part of how scammers peddle their bogus products.</p>\n\n<p>Using CrowdTangle, a tool that measures social media engagement, PolitiFact tracked the Facebook and Instagram reach of each business to which the FTC has sent warning letters. Our analysis suggests that the businesses got a big boost from the platforms in March &mdash;&nbsp;and they&rsquo;re still reaching hundreds of thousands of people per month.</p>\n\n<div class=\"artembed\">See Figure 3 on PolitiFact.com</div>\n\n<p>Between March 1 and 8 &mdash; the week that the FTC started to send its warning letters and the U.S. <a href=\"https://www.nytimes.com/article/coronavirus-timeline.html\">approved</a> widespread testing for the first time &mdash; businesses that falsely claimed their products could treat or prevent COVID-19 saw their Facebook likes, shares and comments more than double. Their videos received more than six times as many views as in the previous week.</p>\n\n<p>On Instagram &mdash; where alternative health stores have large followings &mdash; views, likes and comments quadrupled.</p>\n\n<p>The posts, many of which were deleted after they were cited in the FTC&rsquo;s letters, give a sense of how businesses used their social media accounts to falsely market their products as coronavirus treatments.</p>\n\n<ul>\n\t<li>\n\t<p>&quot;Can CBD help with Corona Virus? Possibly!&quot; <a href=\"https://www.ftc.gov/system/files/warning-letters/fda-covid-19-letter-cbd_online_store.pdf\">said</a> a California company called CBD Online Store in a March 9 Facebook post.</p>\n\t</li>\n\t<li>\n\t<p>&quot;Constituents in herbs exhibit a diverse array of anti-viral, virostatic, immune enhancing and anti-influenza activities that may prevent and treat pandemic influenza,&quot; <a href=\"https://www.ftc.gov/system/files/warning-letters/covid-19-letter-to-cara-health.pdf\">said</a> Irish company Carahealth in another post.</p>\n\t</li>\n\t<li>\n\t<p>&quot;ESSENTIAL OIL RESPIRATORY FORMULA &ndash; Soothing Support for Symptoms like Corona Virus,&quot; <a href=\"https://www.ftc.gov/system/files/warning-letters/fda-covid-19-letter-health_mastery_systems_dba_pure_plant.pdf\">promised</a> a March Facebook post from a website called Pure Plant Essentials.</p>\n\t</li>\n</ul>\n\n<p>As the FTC started sending more letters, the businesses&rsquo; social media engagement dropped, hitting a low point in mid-April. But CrowdTangle data show those accounts are still getting more interactions on their posts than before the pandemic began &mdash; in spite of platforms&rsquo; policies to limit the spread of misinformation about the virus.</p>\n\n<p>Since January, Facebook and Instagram <a href=\"https://about.fb.com/news/2020/03/combating-covid-19-misinformation/\">have been removing</a> posts that &quot;make false claims about cures, treatments, the availability of essential services or the location and severity of the outbreak.&quot; The platforms <a href=\"https://www.theverge.com/2020/3/7/21169109/facebook-instagram-bans-ads-face-masks-coronavirus\">have also banned</a> ads that try to sell face masks, hand sanitizer or other medical supplies.</p>\n\n<p>&quot;To date, we&rsquo;ve also removed hundreds of thousands of pieces of misinformation that could lead to imminent physical harm,&quot; wrote Guy Rosen, Facebook&rsquo;s vice president of integrity, <a href=\"https://about.fb.com/news/2020/04/covid-19-misinfo-update/\">in an April blog post</a>. They included &quot;claims like drinking bleach cures the virus and theories like physical distancing is ineffective in preventing the disease from spreading.&quot;</p>\n\n<p>The platform has also removed coronavirus-related ads. In early April, Facebook spokeswoman Devon Kearns <a href=\"https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/paloma/the-technology-202/2020/04/01/the-technology-202-mask-scams-and-misinformation-still-present-on-social-media-despite-tougher-policies/5e8378ee88e0fa101a75708f/\">told the Washington Post</a> that &quot;since COVID-19 was declared a public health emergency, Facebook has removed millions of ads and commerce listings for the sale of masks, hand sanitizer, surface disinfecting wipes and COVID-19 test kits.&quot;&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>&quot;While enforcement is not perfect,&quot; she added, &quot;we have put several automated detection mechanisms in place to block or remove this material from our platform.&quot;</p>\n\n<p>But Facebook <a href=\"https://www.consumerreports.org/social-media/facebook-approved-ads-with-coronavirus-misinformation/\">has still approved</a> some ads with false or misleading claims about the coronavirus. And some businesses are skirting regulators&rsquo; warnings and platforms&rsquo; anti-misinformation policies by using coded language or hashtags in their social media posts.&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p><strong><em>RELATED: </em><a href=\"https://www.politifact.com/article/2020/mar/12/7-ways-avoid-misinformation-during-coronavirus-pan/\">7 ways to avoid misinformation during the coronavirus pandemic</a></strong></p>\n\n<p>For example, <a href=\"http://archive.is/yIE3x\">a recent Facebook post</a> from a company called Halosense &mdash;&nbsp;to which the FTC <a href=\"https://www.ftc.gov/system/files/warning-letters/covid-19-letter-to-halosense.pdf\">sent a warning letter</a> March 30 &mdash; claims its salt air purifiers are effective &quot;for all your respiratory ailments.&quot; A South African company promoted an intravenous vitamin C product in <a href=\"http://archive.is/xkOpG\">a recent Instagram post</a> alongside the hashtag #Coronavirus. NewsGuard, a group that tracks online misinformation, <a href=\"https://www.newsguardtech.com/superspreaders/\">has documented</a> several other examples.</p>\n\n<p>Some businesses running ads on Facebook and Instagram are among those targeted by the FTC. <a href=\"https://www.facebook.com/ads/library/?active_status=all&amp;ad_type=all&amp;country=US&amp;impression_search_field=has_impressions_lifetime&amp;view_all_page_id=456157574474289&amp;sort_data[direction]=desc&amp;sort_data[mode]=relevancy_monthly_grouped\">A recent ad</a> from a company that sells alkaline supplements promotes supplements as a way to boost your immune system. <a href=\"https://www.facebook.com/ads/library/?active_status=all&amp;ad_type=all&amp;country=US&amp;impression_search_field=has_impressions_lifetime&amp;view_all_page_id=111683316704&amp;sort_data[direction]=desc&amp;sort_data[mode]=relevancy_monthly_grouped\">Another one</a> from a natural health business promotes the use of colloidal silver.&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>PolitiFact reached out to Facebook to find out how the company is limiting the reach of misinformation about COVID-19 treatments, and whether it&rsquo;s working with the FTC.&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>&quot;We have policies against promoting harmful hoaxes related to COVID-19 and exploiting the crisis for financial gain,&quot; a Facebook spokesperson told us in an email. &quot;We have already prohibited several of these businesses from using our ads products and are investigating the other ones addressed in these letters.&quot;</p>\n\n<p>The spokesperson said Facebook has a dedicated channel for state officials, including attorneys general, to report product listings that they believe violate local laws. Facebook users can also report suspect <a href=\"https://www.facebook.com/help/1763107733921408?helpref=uf_permalink\">listings</a> and <a href=\"https://www.facebook.com/help/196126404168290?helpref=uf_permalink\">vendors</a>.</p>\n\n<p>Experts say the persistence of coronavirus-related scams on Facebook and Instagram in spite of those efforts is cause for concern.</p>\n\n<p>Joan Donovan, research director at Harvard University&rsquo;s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy, <a href=\"https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-01107-z\">wrote in an April 14 column</a> that the coronavirus pandemic &quot;lays bare the failure to quarantine online scams, hoaxes and lies&quot; on technology platforms.</p>\n\n<p>&quot;Social media is tooled to distribute financial scams, miracle-promising products and fear-mongering conspiracies alongside medical advice, school closures, news and family updates,&quot; wrote Donovan, whose team started monitoring misinformation about coronavirus cures in March. &quot;It&rsquo;s no surprise that damaging guff overwhelms valid recommendations and crucial health information.&quot;</p>\n\n<p>PolitiFact partners with Facebook and Instagram to fact-check false and misleading posts. Since January, <a href=\"https://www.politifact.com/coronavirus/\">we&rsquo;ve fact-checked</a> more than 400 claims about the coronavirus. Once we rate a post as false or misleading, its future reach is limited and users who shared it receive a warning. <a href=\"https://about.fb.com/news/2020/04/covid-19-misinfo-update/\">Facebook reported</a> that, in April alone, the company had flagged about 50 million pieces of coronavirus-related content. (Read more about our <a href=\"https://www.facebook.com/help/1952307158131536?helpref=related\">partnership with Facebook</a>.)</p>\n\n<p>But with the long wait for a vaccine, regulators aren&rsquo;t confident that reports of coronavirus-related scams will decrease anytime soon.</p>\n\n<p>&quot;I imagine that if and when we start to have a marked decrease in the number of infections and the number of deaths, things will slow down because you&rsquo;ll be able to take less advantage of people,&quot; said Nessel, the Michigan attorney general. &quot;Until then, I don&rsquo;t think we&rsquo;re going to let up for a while.&quot;</p>\n\n<p><em><strong>Now more than ever, it&rsquo;s important to sort fact from fiction. Please donate to support our mission.&nbsp;<a href=\"https://t.co/ZG0SgVl6fM\">Membership.politifact.com</a></strong></em></p>",
            "publication_date": "2020-05-31T12:00:00-04:00"
        },
        {
            "slug": "death-george-floyd-what-you-need-know",
            "personalities": [],
            "headline": "The death of George Floyd: What you need to know",
            "entry": "<p>Protests have flared up in Minneapolis and across the country as demonstrators decry the May 25 death of George Floyd. Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, died in police custody after a white officer pinned Floyd&rsquo;s neck under his knee while Floyd pleaded that he couldn&rsquo;t breathe.</p>\n\n<p>Protesters, fed up with the latest in a long series of fatal encounters between black men and white law enforcement officers, have stormed the streets, looted city stores and set fire to a Minneapolis police department building.&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>&quot;The chapter that&rsquo;s been written this week is one of our darkest chapters,&quot; said Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz, who deployed the Minnesota National Guard, in a May 29 <a href=\"https://www.cnn.com/us/live-news/george-floyd-protest-updates-05-28-20/h_403116806a9d64147855e5dc5212e64d\">press conference</a>.</p>\n\n<p>Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman <a href=\"https://www.facebook.com/HennepinAttorney/videos/3957292117677503/\">announced</a> May 29 that Derek Chauvin, the officer who pinned Floyd, has been charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter.&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>Freeman said the county has never filed charges so quickly. Between witness statements, a medical examiner&rsquo;s preliminary report, <a href=\"https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xwAAEhitWy8\">bodycam footage</a> and <a href=\"https://www.facebook.com/darnellareallprettymarie/videos/1425398217661280/\">bystander</a> <a href=\"https://twitter.com/AlexLehnertFox9/status/1265409119843954694?s=20\">videos</a> that spread widely on social media, he said his office had everything they needed.</p>\n\n<p>Chauvin is now in custody, Freeman said. Ongoing investigations could bring further charges against him and the other three officers involved with Floyd&rsquo;s death, who have all been <a href=\"https://twitter.com/MayorFrey/status/1265359374010273792\">fired</a>.&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>The FBI and Justice Department are <a href=\"https://www.justice.gov/usao-mn/pr/joint-statement-united-states-attorney-erica-macdonald-and-fbi-special-agent-charge\">conducting</a> a federal civil rights investigation as a &quot;top priority,&quot; and the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is investigating the incident.</p>\n\n<p>In short, a lot has happened since Floyd&rsquo;s death. Here&rsquo;s what we know about the story so far.</p>\n\n<div class=\"pf_subheadline\">A 911 call, a violent arrest and a viral video</div>\n\n<p>Around 8 p.m. on May 25, a staffer at <a href=\"http://www.minneapolismn.gov/www/groups/public/@mpd/documents/webcontent/wcmsp-224726.pdf\">Cup Foods</a>, a local convenience store, called 911. He told the operator that Floyd had paid for cigarettes using &quot;fake bills&quot; and that he was outside the store, &quot;sitting on his car&quot; and appearing &quot;awfully drunk,&quot; according to a <a href=\"http://www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/www/groups/public/@mpd/documents/webcontent/wcmsp-224718.pdf\">transcript</a> of the call.</p>\n\n<p>The owner of Cup Foods later <a href=\"https://twitter.com/CNNTonight/status/1265875882004152322?s=20\">told CNN</a> the issue was over a counterfeit $20 bill.</p>\n\n<p>The Minneapolis Police Department said in a <a href=\"https://web.archive.org/web/20200526121443/https://www.insidempd.com/2020/05/26/man-dies-after-medical-incident-during-police-interaction/\">statement</a> that officers responded &quot;on a report of forgery in progress&quot; and, finding Floyd in his car, ordered him to exit the vehicle.</p>\n\n<p>The statement said Floyd &quot;physically resisted officers,&quot; who handcuffed him and called for an ambulance because &quot;he appeared to be suffering medical distress.&quot;&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>Video recorded by a bystander at the scene shows Chauvin restraining Floyd behind a parked police cruiser and pinning Floyd&rsquo;s neck to the pavement with his knee. Three more officers can be seen at various points, with one keeping onlookers off the street.</p>\n\n<p>The 10-minute video is disturbing, but can be watched <a href=\"https://www.facebook.com/darnellareallprettymarie/videos/1425398217661280/\">here</a>.</p>\n\n<p>Floyd can be heard repeatedly telling the officers, &quot;I can&rsquo;t breathe.&quot; After a few minutes, Floyd becomes silent, closes his eyes and stops moving, but Chauvin keeps his knee in place.</p>\n\n<p>Bystanders can be heard begging the officers to let him breathe, with one person telling the officers his nose is bleeding and another demanding that they check his pulse.</p>\n\n<p>&quot;He&rsquo;s not resisting arrest or nothing,&quot; one bystander says.</p>\n\n<p>Medics arrive in an ambulance and roll Floyd, still motionless, onto a stretcher before loading him into an ambulance and taking him away.</p>\n\n<p>The Minneapolis Fire Department&rsquo;s <a href=\"http://www.minneapolismn.gov/www/groups/public/@mpd/documents/webcontent/wcmsp-224680.pdf\">report</a> said Floyd was unresponsive and pulseless in the ambulance, adding that witnesses on the scene said the police &quot;killed the man.&quot;&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>He was pronounced dead at the Hennepin County Medical Center at 9:25 p.m, according to the <a href=\"http://www.minneapolismn.gov/www/groups/public/@mpd/documents/webcontent/wcmsp-224679.pdf\">medical examiner</a>.</p>\n\n<div class=\"pf_subheadline\">Additional videos show no resistance</div>\n\n<p>As protests mounted, so did the evidence that Floyd had not resisted arrest, as the police report said.</p>\n\n<p>See Figure 2 on PolitiFact.com</p>\n\n<p><em>A portrait of George Floyd is seen on May 27, 2020, as part of the memorial for him near the site of his arrest in Minneapolis. (AP/Mone)</em></p>\n\n<p>One witness <a href=\"https://www.cnn.com/2020/05/28/us/video-george-floyd-contradict-resist-trnd/index.html\">told CNN</a> he did not think Floyd was resisting arrest. The owner of Cup Foods <a href=\"https://twitter.com/CNNTonight/status/1265875882004152322?s=20\">said</a> that surveillance video from his store does not show Floyd resisting arrest.</p>\n\n<p>Other publicly available videos &mdash; including <a href=\"https://twitter.com/AlexLehnertFox9/status/1265409119843954694?s=20\">one video captured by a bystander</a> from their car and another pulled from the <a href=\"https://twitter.com/CNNTonight/status/1265847501950681089?s=20\">surveillance tape</a> of a nearby Dragon Wok restaurant &mdash; show Floyd stepping out of his car with no apparent resistance.</p>\n\n<p>According to the Minneapolis Police Department&rsquo;s <a href=\"http://www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/police/policy/mpdpolicy_5-300_5-300?__cf_chl_jschl_tk__=4e46fd55b77d10f33da2bc3113f9d22d53c86e63-1590778262-0-Ac2UDFlIHUoOTZTeqoEjqHMO2tGy21YuA4fuddqWLaoSSF_JhJmzy7ZqIev8NOL02eUWajDeoi7O63JHGNfQ-PfcyC2NpS5ppgEUcOOv11T9TdZleFEZXC2T4_o734YcifQRKvns096nLU-Qdp3ponOn6vlQ3wTiH6wHpUraINB1bkrLLXPlah2va7wkmgGq9S-fY9h-q_O4NLKjAwPvs9mq32xEXRkLwnEWSwFtwuYRNWDPqZt-DNYlYNkDlvAeUpFXGSDrafPALM_IQTcrVheq8htD2-hW9dA9mtGYinmokCatVkgU_CNIfwCrPtGGlw\">policy and procedure manual</a>, neck restraints that are meant to control are allowed only against &quot;a subject who is actively resisting.&quot;&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>Neck restraints that are designed to knock someone unconscious are reserved as last-ditch measures for dealing with aggressive resistance, per the manual.</p>\n\n<p>Floyd&rsquo;s family <a href=\"https://www.cbsnews.com/news/george-floyd-death-family-calls-for-charges-minneapolis-police-officers/\">has called</a> for murder charges to be filed against the officers, as has Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, who <a href=\"https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tw0zbgmkFUE\">said May 27</a> that he &quot;saw nothing that would signal that this kind of force was necessary&quot; and that the knee-to-neck technique &quot;should not be used, period.&quot;</p>\n\n<p>In a statement after Freeman announced charges against Chauvin, Frey said the move was &quot;an essential first step on a longer road toward justice and healing our city.&quot;&nbsp;</p>\n\n<div class=\"pf_subheadline\">A history of similar incidents</div>\n\n<p>Floyd grew up in Houston. He played sports in high school and later at a community college in Florida, according to the <a href=\"https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/27/us/george-floyd-minneapolis-death.html\">New York Times</a>. He moved to Minneapolis four or five years ago.&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>He worked as a bouncer at a restaurant owned by Jovanni Thurnstrom, who was also his landlord, before it&nbsp;closed on-site dining due to the coronavirus.</p>\n\n<p>&quot;Everyone here loves him,&quot; Thurnstrom told a <a href=\"https://kstp.com/news/i-want-people-to-remember-him-that-way-boss-of-george-floyd-says-he-was-a-calm-nice-guy-may-26-2020/5741987/\">local ABC affiliate</a>, adding that Floyd was &quot;a very calm, nice guy&quot; who wanted to learn to Bachata dance and once drove an intoxicated diner home from the restaurant.</p>\n\n<p>Floyd joins a growing list of black men <a href=\"https://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2015/aug/30/bernie-s/bernie-sanders-right-police-do-treat-african-ameri/\">dead from fatal run-ins</a> with law enforcement.&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>Some people drew comparisons to the 2014 death of Eric Garner, who died in New York after an officer put him in a chokehold. Others remembered <a href=\"https://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2016/oct/05/tim-kaine/kaine-police-stopped-slain-minnesota-driver-over-4/\">Philando Castile</a>, who was shot to death in 2016 during a traffic stop in Minnesota.</p>\n\n<p>Both incidents touched off similar protests. So have more recent events, such as the fatal shooting in Georgia of <a href=\"https://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2020/may/08/viral-image/no-isnt-photo-brian-kemp-and-gregory-mcmichael/\">Ahmaud Arbery</a> by a white former police officer and his son.</p>\n\n<p>See Figure 1 on PolitiFact.com</p>\n\n<p><em>Protesters demonstrate outside of a burning Minneapolis 3rd Police Precinct on May 28, 2020, in Minneapolis. (AP/Minchillo)</em></p>\n\n<p>Myron Orfield, professor of civil rights and civil liberties law at the University of Minnesota Law School, said race-related riots have swept the country before. They came in the 1960s, during both World Wars and in other times, always hitting segregated cities particularly hard.</p>\n\n<p>&quot;It happens when social conditions become unlivable, and then usually the police conduct is like a match,&quot; Orfield said.</p>\n\n<p><a href=\"https://www.politifact.com/article/2020/feb/24/explaining-amy-klobuchars-role-newly-investigated-/\">Minneapolis</a> is particularly segregated, Orfield said, citing a <a href=\"https://www.law.umn.edu/sites/law.umn.edu/files/why-are-the-twin-cities-so-segregated-2-26-15.pdf\">report</a> he authored on the city&rsquo;s racial disparities. It doesn&rsquo;t help that the U.S. is battling a pandemic.</p>\n\n<p>&quot;When the white community gets a cold, the black community gets pneumonia,&quot; he said. Against that backdrop, an episode of police brutality is bound to &quot;light a fuse.&quot;</p>\n\n<p>In his career, Chauvin had 18 complaints and two letters of reprimand filed against him, according to a <a href=\"http://www.minneapolismn.gov/www/groups/public/@mpd/documents/webcontent/wcmsp-224705.pdf?__cf_chl_jschl_tk__=06bdab591df51491201b3b6a23a4925c60c862f1-1590782307-0-AZKMIGo8gUytmPLv4jUylD95qBDc59Tw_wGZulcpxxKCpgupKwY3Zrl9L_0vDAgPgCf2k1vXmAPUAPnHQsYMqRlAWruoyj2-Dnojw330_C80EVu_mRjVXD43HkDhvUxM_tG1zcTZD1_eHFwFnIpLDPFyMZWDrIWDgDb6YOcrDSj0NJZiF3gICDtqcSMqjpK957dVlihG58_m67ziW-t8ZRfMzuSqn2RnR9eZPxmVNDXmOtGXkqY0avA19C2Y3OIx6fVLscG9fQ60qEkAHy7C7Iyi6SOTs-GcMUSAIEhNXBHIxWV5HQGY6qcSq633hjRmTxGJS7zkTBrv5qxJluU7dWP09fEdZxtLnVZtRaE_IbOz\">summary</a> released by the Minneapolis Police Department. Tou Thao, another officer involved, had <a href=\"http://www.minneapolismn.gov/www/groups/public/@mpd/documents/webcontent/wcmsp-224708.pdf\">six complaints</a>, one of which was still open.</p>\n\n<p>Chauvin shot suspects in other incidents, the Associated Press <a href=\"https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/officer-accused-in-floyds-death-opened-fire-on-2-people/2020/05/28/e3dee0d6-a143-11ea-be06-af5514ee0385_story.html\">reported</a>. Thao was sued in federal court in 2017 for allegedly using excessive force.</p>\n\n<p>&quot;The Minneapolis Police Department, in my experience, has always had a number of really brutal, racist police officers,&quot; Orfield said. &quot;It&rsquo;s been a part of the culture of that department for quite a while. Most of the police officers are good, but there&rsquo;s a bad element.&quot;</p>",
            "publication_date": "2020-05-29T17:40:33-04:00"
        },
        {
            "slug": "miami-67-donald-trump-2020-history-when-looting-st",
            "personalities": [],
            "headline": "From Miami '67 to Donald Trump 2020: The history of 'when the looting starts, the shooting starts'",
            "entry": "<p>A day after President Donald Trump signed an executive order targeting Twitter and other social media platforms, Twitter sanctioned his tweet about rioting in Minneapolis over the police killing of George Floyd.&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>&quot;These THUGS are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd, and I won&rsquo;t let that happen,&quot; Trump <a href=\"https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1266231100780744704\">tweeted just past midnight on May 29</a>. &quot;Just spoke to Governor Tim Walz and told him that the Military is with him all the way. Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts.&quot;</p>\n\n<div class=\"artembed\">See Figure 1 on PolitiFact.com</div>\n\n<p>Twitter let the tweet remain, but users would first see a warning: &quot;This Tweet violates our policies regarding the glorification of violence based on the historical context of the last line, its connection to violence, and the risk it could inspire similar actions today.&quot;</p>\n\n<p>The blowback grew as the morning unfolded, both against Twitter and against Trump.</p>\n\n<p>Trump didn&rsquo;t coin the phrase. It dates back 50 years.</p>\n\n<p>Whether he knew it or not, the slogan comes out of the very social ill that sparked the protests &mdash; police violence aimed at black men. Trump ducked questions from reporters, but about 12 hours after the original tweet, he tried to explain himself.</p>\n\n<p>&quot;Looting leads to shooting, and that&#39;s why a man was shot and killed in Minneapolis on Wednesday night,&quot; Trump <a href=\"https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1266434153932894208\">tweeted May 29</a>. &quot;Or look at what just happened in Louisville with 7 people shot. I don&#39;t want this to happen, and that&#39;s what the expression put out last night means.</p>\n\n<div class=\"artembed\">See Figure 2 on PolitiFact.com</div>\n\n<p>That&rsquo;s not how the slogan came to be.</p>\n\n<p>In 1967, as civil rights protests swept the country, Miami police chief Walter Headley vowed to crack down on young African American men who he said &quot;have taken advantage of the civil rights campaign.&quot; There had been a series of robberies in the African American community of Liberty City.&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>&quot;Felons will learn that they can&rsquo;t be bonded out from the morgue,&quot; Headley said at a <a href=\"https://search.proquest.com/docview/539503894?accountid=\">December 1967</a> press conference. &quot;We don&#39;t mind being accused of police brutality. They haven&#39;t seen anything yet.&quot;</p>\n\n<p>Headley added, &quot;We haven&#39;t had any serious problems with civil uprising and looting because I&#39;ve let the word filter down that when the looting starts, the shooting starts.&quot;</p>\n\n<p>In his book &quot;<a href=\"https://epdf.pub/resolving-racial-conflict-the-community-relations-and-civil-rights-1964-1989.html\">Resolving Racial Conflict</a>,&quot; Colgate University political scientist Bertram Levine wrote that &quot;a variety of sheriffs and police chiefs&quot; around the country picked up the slogan.</p>\n\n<p>Some conservatives have continued to echo the phrase in more recent years, sometimes repurposing it in the context of potential looting after big storms or other emergencies.</p>\n\n<p>It popped up as recently as April 2020. Conservative activist and actor James Woods &mdash; with 2.3 million followers on Twitter &mdash; invoked the slogan without saying all of it. Woods was responding to a video message urging Americans not to stockpile firearms during the COVID-19 crisis.</p>\n\n<p>&quot;Thank you for the reminder,&quot; Woods <a href=\"https://twitter.com/RealJamesWoods/status/1248373070437347329\">tweeted April 9</a>. &quot;When the looting starts, always be prepared. Buy more ammo!&quot;</p>\n\n<p>One of Woods&rsquo; followers <a href=\"https://twitter.com/DEaston14/status/1248405764038746116\">retweeted him</a> and completed the phrase. Twitter has since deleted that tweet as a violation of its policies.</p>\n\n<p>In <a href=\"https://twitter.com/TKORachael/status/1040210773174304769\">September 2018</a>, a Twitter user who sounded more aware of the civil rights era connection posted, &quot;LEFT LOOTERS are drooling waiting for the storm...In Miami, back in the day, there was a saying &lsquo;When the LOOTING STARTS the shooting starts.&rsquo; That legal response should be implemented during EVERY storm.&quot;&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>We found an example from <a href=\"https://twitter.com/DH__Racing/status/902145517706235905\">August 2017</a>, in response to looting during flooding in Houston.</p>\n\n<p>The threads on Twitter generally come from supportive gun owners. Political scientist Omar Wasow at Princeton University said this is a common pattern.</p>\n\n<p>&quot;Many Americans, particularly those with a heightened concern about tradition and order, purchase guns when they fear the state is no longer providing security,&quot; Wasow said. &quot;Race and media are central elements of this.&quot;</p>\n\n<p>Garth Pauley, professor of communications at Calvin University, said the phrase, as the Miami police chief made clear, aimed to instill fear in African Americans. Pauley said Trump&rsquo;s use of the slogan retains that power, &quot;while simultaneously communicating a tough, law-and-order ethos to his supporters.&quot;</p>\n\n<div>&nbsp;</div>",
            "publication_date": "2020-05-29T17:39:18-04:00"
        },
        {
            "slug": "fact-checking-misinformation-about-george-floyd-pr",
            "personalities": [],
            "headline": "Fact-checking misinformation about the George Floyd protests in Minneapolis",
            "entry": "<p>Demonstrations <a href=\"https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/29/us/george-floyd-minneapolis-protests.html\">erupted</a> in Minneapolis over the death of George Floyd, who died May 25 after a white police officer pinned his knee against the black man&rsquo;s neck.</p>\n\n<p>On May 28, protesters <a href=\"https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/protests-looting-erupt-again-minneapolis-area-following-death-george-floyd-n1216881\">lit the police precinct on fire</a>, and President Donald Trump tweeted &quot;when the looting starts, the shooting starts.&quot; A CNN reporter was arrested on live television. As police <a href=\"https://www.cnn.com/2020/05/28/us/minneapolis-george-floyd-thursday/index.html\">pushed back</a> demonstrators with tear gas and rubber bullets, the Minneapolis Fire Department <a href=\"https://kstp.com/news/multiple-fires-burn-overnight-following-violence-and-looting-in-minneapolis/5743398/\">responded</a> to roughly 30 fires around the city.</p>\n\n<p>Amid the chaos, misinformation took off on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram.</p>\n\n<p>A false conspiracy theory <a href=\"https://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2020/may/29/facebook-posts/conspiracy-theory-falsely-claims-george-floyds-dea/\">spread</a>&nbsp;that Floyd&rsquo;s death was staged. An image on Instagram alleged without evidence that a police officer was to blame for inciting violence at some of the protests. And some users <a href=\"https://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2020/may/29/viral-image/images-dueling-protests-are-real-both-didnt-happen/\">took</a> photos of coronavirus reopen protests out-of-context to make a point about the police response.</p>\n\n<p>PolitiFact fact-checked several of the most popular claims about the Minneapolis protests below. The posts were flagged as part of Facebook&rsquo;s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our <a href=\"https://www.facebook.com/help/1952307158131536?helpref=related\">partnership with Facebook</a>.)</p>\n\n<p>If you see another suspicious post about the Minneapolis protests, send it to <a href=\"mailto:[email protected]m\">[email protected]</a>.</p>\n\n<div class=\"artembed\">See Figure 1 on PolitiFact.com</div>\n\n<p><em>(Screenshot from Facebook)</em></p>\n\n<div class=\"pf_subheadline\">Floyd&rsquo;s death wasn&rsquo;t staged</div>\n\n<p>As protests in Minneapolis <a href=\"https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2020/05/28/george-floyd-updates-minneapolis-police-protests-fires-looting/5272579002/\">turned violent</a>, some Facebook users said Floyd&rsquo;s death was staged by police. <a href=\"https://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2020/may/29/facebook-posts/conspiracy-theory-falsely-claims-george-floyds-dea/\">We rated</a> those posts Pants on Fire!</p>\n\n<p><a href=\"https://archive.vn/t5nfq\">A May 28 post</a> claims the death of Floyd was a &quot;staged event.&quot; Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, <a href=\"https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2020/05/28/george-floyds-death-sparks-violence-across-country-thursdays-news/5271387002/\">died in police custody</a> May 25 after being handcuffed and pinned down by a white officer.</p>\n\n<p>&quot;I think there is at the very least the &lsquo;possibility,&rsquo; that this was a filmed public execution of a black man by a white cop, with the purpose of creating racial tensions and driving a wedge in the growing group of anti deep state sentiment from comon (sic) people, that have already been psychologically traumatized by Covid 19 fears,&quot; reads the post.</p>\n\n<p>There is no evidence to back it up. We reached out to the original poster for a comment, but we haven&rsquo;t heard back.&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>After a video of Floyd&rsquo;s death started to circulate on social media, protesters took to the streets in Minneapolis. Four police officers involved in the incident were fired. Derek Chauvin, the officer who knelt on Floyd&rsquo;s neck, <a href=\"https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2020/05/29/george-floyd-minneapolis-protests-live-updates/\">was taken into custody</a> and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter on May 29.</p>\n\n<p>The FBI and Justice Department <a href=\"https://fox8.com/news/fbi-law-enforcement-officials-offer-statement-on-george-floyd-death-investigation/\">are investigating</a> Floyd&rsquo;s death as a possible violation of federal civil rights laws. Hennepin County and federal prosecutors <a href=\"https://www.cnn.com/2020/05/28/us/minneapolis-george-floyd-thursday/index.html\">are also</a> looking into the possibility of bringing charges against the officers involved in the incident. We reached out to the Minneapolis Police Department for a comment, but we haven&rsquo;t heard back.</p>\n\n<p>None of the investigations have disputed that the video shows Floyd&rsquo;s death &mdash; and that Chauvin kneeled on Floyd&rsquo;s neck, killing him.</p>\n\n<p>The nearly 1,000-word Facebook post weaves together a series of speculations and unrelated facts, the motives of the officers and the timing of the incident to spin an unproven conspiracy theory. None of it confirms that the incident was staged.</p>\n\n<p><a href=\"https://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2020/may/29/facebook-posts/conspiracy-theory-falsely-claims-george-floyds-dea/\">Read the full fact-check</a>.</p>\n\n<p>&mdash;&nbsp;<em>Daniel Funke</em></p>\n\n<div class=\"artembed\">See Figure 2 on PolitiFact.com</div>\n\n<p><em>(Screenshot from Instagram)</em></p>\n\n<div class=\"pf_subheadline\">Police deny officer fanned violence</div>\n\n<p>An image <a href=\"https://www.instagram.com/p/CAworNVpn-T/?utm_source=ig_embed\">being</a> <a href=\"https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10222749147260961&amp;set=a.2949096090129&amp;type=3&amp;theater\">shared</a> on social media alleges an officer from a neighboring jurisdiction instigated the violence. Police have denied it.</p>\n\n<p>&quot;This is St. Paul police officer Jacob Pederson,&quot; a May 28 Instagram post says. &quot;He smashed out the windows of Auto Zone. He&rsquo;s the provocateur that helped start the looting. Stop blaming protesters and get back to blaming the police.&quot;&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>The Saint Paul Police Department denies that the person in the footage is Pederson.</p>\n\n<p>&quot;RUMOR CONTROL,&quot; the department <a href=\"https://twitter.com/sppdmn/status/1266202225677910022?s=20\">tweeted</a>. &quot;We are aware of the social media post that erroneously identifies one of our officers as the person caught on video breaking windows in Minneapolis. We&rsquo;ve seen it. We&rsquo;ve looked into it. And it&rsquo;s false.&quot;</p>\n\n<p>The department went on to say in a series of tweets:&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>&quot;So we also want to be perfectly clear about this: The person in the video is not our officer. We don&rsquo;t know who that person is, but we hope he&rsquo;s identified and held accountable for his actions. Our officer? He&rsquo;s been working hard, keeping people and property safe, and protecting the right to peacefully assemble. It&rsquo;s sad that people would post and share this untrue information adding more confusion to an already painful time in our community.&quot;</p>\n\n<p><em>&mdash; Ciara O&#39;Rourke</em></p>\n\n<div class=\"artembed\">See Figure 3 on PolitiFact.com</div>\n\n<p><em>(Screenshot from Facebook)</em></p>\n\n<div class=\"pf_subheadline\">No evidence Target looted for not serving protesters</div>\n\n<p>A Facebook user <a href=\"http://archive.is/R2tuq\">claimed</a> that a Target store in Minneapolis was looted for supporting police by &quot;refusing to sell milk to tear-gassed&quot; protesters. People who have been hit by teargas sometimes use milk to ease the stinging effect.</p>\n\n<p>&quot;I was just informed that the reason they looted that Target in Minneapolis is because it was supporting the Minneapolis PD &amp; refusing to sell milk to tear-gassed protesters,&quot; began the <a href=\"https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=1019623408497848&amp;id=100013505946319\">post</a>, which ended with &quot;BLM,&quot; the hashtag for &quot;black lives matter.&quot;</p>\n\n<p>We have not found evidence to support this.</p>\n\n<p>Looting started at the Target store on Lake Street May 27 before spreading to other areas in the city, the Star Tribune <a href=\"https://www.startribune.com/minneapolis-mayor-frey-calls-for-peace-as-looting-flames-erupt-around-police-station/570816112/?refresh=true\">reported</a>, with looters seen leaving with items such as large TVs, clothing and groceries. Police used tear gas after protesters threw items at them, CNN <a href=\"https://www.cnn.com/videos/us/2020/05/28/minneapolis-protests-george-floyd-target-loot-video-sidner-vpx.cnn\">reported</a>.&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>As we prepared this fact-check on May 29, details of the looting at the Target, across from a police station, remained sketchy. However, we found no evidence that the looting was prompted by employees at the store refusing to serve protesters.</p>\n\n<p>Target&rsquo;s corporate office did not respond to our requests for information. It had issued a <a href=\"https://corporate.target.com/press/releases/2020/05/an-update-on-temporary-target-store-closures-due-t\">statement</a> on May 28 saying, &quot;We are heartbroken by the death of George Floyd and the pain it is causing our community,&quot; and said that it had closed six stores in Minneapolis and St. Paul.&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>It was later <a href=\"https://www.fox9.com/news/target-closes-two-dozen-stores-in-twin-cities-metro-as-looting-continues\">reported</a> that Target had closed 24 stores in the Twin Cities area, but <a href=\"https://www.startribune.com/target-reopens-all-but-6-twin-cities-stores-this-morning/570848882/\">reopened</a> 18 of them on May 29. We found no reports in our Google and Nexis searches about looting being prompted by the store refusing to serve protesters.</p>\n\n<p>&mdash;&nbsp;<em>Tom Kertscher</em></p>\n\n<div class=\"artembed\">See Figure 4 on PolitiFact.com</div>\n\n<p><em>(Screenshot from Facebook)</em></p>\n\n<div class=\"pf_subheadline\">Two protest photos aren&rsquo;t both from Minnesota</div>\n\n<p>Two photos shared in tandem on social media attempt to show the uneven response by police to American protests in &quot;Minnesota May 2020!&quot; The caption emphasizes that point, saying &quot;same state, same month.&quot;</p>\n\n<p>The first image in a May 27 <a href=\"http://archive.is/j7nVI\">Facebook post</a> shows a group of white men holding firearms, with no police presence in sight, in protest of COVID-19 stay-at-home orders. The image is contrasted with a more intense picture of police aiming tear gas at unarmed people on the ground who were protesting Floyd&rsquo;s death.</p>\n\n<p>The photographs are real depictions of recent protests, but they weren&rsquo;t both taken in May 2020 in Minnesota. We <a href=\"https://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2020/may/29/viral-image/images-dueling-protests-are-real-both-didnt-happen/\">rated</a> a post that shared them Mostly False.</p>\n\n<p>The top image shows a group of mostly armed, white men protesting Gov. Gretchen Whitmer&rsquo;s stay-at-home order. It happened <a href=\"https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/politics-news/lock-her-anti-whitmer-coronavirus-lockdown-protestors-swarm-michigan-capitol-n1184426\">on April 15</a> in front of the Michigan State Capitol building in Lansing. Police did not fire tear gas. <a href=\"https://www.gettyimages.com/detail/news-photo/people-take-part-in-a-protest-for-michiganders-against-news-photo/1210050182?adppopup=true\">The image</a> was taken by AFP photographer Jeff Kowalsky.&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>The <a href=\"https://tineye.com/search/887907f26c2d8f91cd8d56484a5081e81f2ffd03?page=1\">second photo is from May 26</a>, a day after video surfaced of Chauvin pinning down Floyd by the throat with his knee. The image of police spraying tear gas at protesters was included in <a href=\"https://minnesota.cbslocal.com/2020/05/26/hundreds-of-protesters-march-in-minneapolis-after-george-floyds-deadly-encounter-with-police/\">multiple</a> <a href=\"https://minnesota.cbslocal.com/2020/05/26/hundreds-of-protesters-march-in-minneapolis-after-george-floyds-deadly-encounter-with-police/\">CBS broadcasts</a> the first day of the Minneapolis protests when they were largely non-violent.&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>&mdash;&nbsp;<em>Samantha Putterman</em></p>\n\n<p><a href=\"https://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2020/may/29/viral-image/images-dueling-protests-are-real-both-didnt-happen/\">Read the full fact-check</a>.</p>\n\n<div class=\"pf_subheadline\">Disputed video of woman in wheelchair</div>\n\n<p>Video footage shows a melee outside of a Target in Minneapolis involving a white woman in a wheelchair and black protesters. In some edits of the videos the white woman appears to be a victim. In others, the black demonstrators claim she is attacking them.</p>\n\n<p>What we know is that the incident started during demonstrations over the death of Floyd. As far as the videos of the fracas, there remain more questions than answers.&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>Video footage <a href=\"https://www.facebook.com/dylan.junker.3/videos/vb.100002259688799/3073853639366595/?type=2&amp;theater\">posted on Facebook</a> shows us broad strokes of violence without immediately making clear what the truth is here. In a series of clips, we see the woman in the wheelchair being collared by a black woman amid screaming and someone repeatedly yelling, &quot;no.&quot; A black woman hitting the white woman in the head. Someone spraying the white woman with what looks like a fire extinguisher. Someone off camera saying: &quot;Jennifer, Jennifer, Jennifer, is that enough?&quot; The white woman throwing something at the crowd gathered around her. That woman claiming that &quot;the looters who were looting Target&quot; attacked her while she was &quot;peacefully protesting.&quot;&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>&quot;I got punched in the head several times,&quot; she says. &quot;They stole everything they could off of me.&quot; She adds that she used her wheelchair to block the door to Target, and that she had a knife, which sliced the arm of a woman behind her.</p>\n\n<p>On May 27, the Gateway Pundit <a href=\"https://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2020/05/savage-animals-looting-minneapolis-violently-attack-old-lady-wheelchair-video/?fbclid=IwAR0Tln22L4TecU7UCZwDK87byan8NWULzyjLnZwrtBtR-uHFUixac1N7frA\">wrote</a> that &quot;savage animals looting in Minneapolis violently attack disabled lady in a wheelchair.&quot;&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>Other accounts on the incident say something different was happening.&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>&quot;Racist woman in wheelchair pretending to be an ally claims she was stabbed by black men but was actually recorded stabbing black men,&quot; one <a href=\"https://www.instagram.com/p/CAvDhNoFTjS/?utm_source=ig_embed\">Instagram post</a>, with different edits of video, says. The posts say the woman antagonized the protesters and stabbed them with a knife.</p>\n\n<p>We don&rsquo;t know enough to tease out what&rsquo;s really happening. But different edits of this same recording highlight how it&rsquo;s being wielded to support rivaling perspectives.&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p><a href=\"https://www.politifact.com/article/2020/may/29/conflicting-stories-about-woman-wheelchair-middle-/\">Read the full story</a>.</p>\n\n<p><em>&mdash; Ciara O&#39;Rourke</em></p>",
            "publication_date": "2020-05-29T17:37:32-04:00"
        },
        {
            "slug": "conflicting-stories-about-woman-wheelchair-middle-",
            "personalities": [],
            "headline": "The conflicting stories about a woman in a wheelchair in the middle of Minneapolis protests",
            "entry": "<p>Video footage shows a melee outside of a Target in Minneapolis involving a white woman in a wheelchair and black protesters. In some edits of the videos the white woman appears to be a victim.&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>In others, the black demonstrators claim she is attacking them.</p>\n\n<p>What we know is that the incident started during demonstrations over the death of George Floyd, who died after a white Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee against the black man&rsquo;s neck. The officer, Derek Chauvin, was fired and charged with third-degree murder.</p>\n\n<p>As far as the videos of the fracas, there remain more questions than answers.&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>Video footage <a href=\"https://www.facebook.com/dylan.junker.3/videos/vb.100002259688799/3073853639366595/?type=2&amp;theater\">posted on Facebook</a> shows us broad strokes of violence without immediately making clear what the truth is here. In a series of clips, we see the woman in the wheelchair being collared by a black woman amid screaming and someone repeatedly yelling, &quot;no.&quot; A black woman hitting the white woman in the head. Someone spraying the white woman with what looks like a fire extinguisher. Someone off camera saying: &quot;Jennifer, Jennifer, Jennifer, is that enough?&quot; The white woman throwing something at the crowd gathered around her. That woman claiming that &quot;the looters who were looting Target&quot; attacked her while she was &quot;peacefully protesting.&quot;&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>&quot;I got punched in the head several times,&quot; she says. &quot;They stole everything they could off of me.&quot; She adds that she used her wheelchair to block the door to Target, and that she had a knife, which sliced the arm of a woman behind her.</p>\n\n<p>On May 27, the Gateway Pundit <a href=\"https://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2020/05/savage-animals-looting-minneapolis-violently-attack-old-lady-wheelchair-video/?fbclid=IwAR0Tln22L4TecU7UCZwDK87byan8NWULzyjLnZwrtBtR-uHFUixac1N7frA\">wrote</a> that &quot;savage animals looting in Minneapolis violently attack disabled lady in a wheelchair.&quot;&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>Other accounts on the incident say something different was happening.&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>&quot;Racist woman in wheelchair pretending to be an ally claims she was stabbed by black men but was actually recorded stabbing black men,&quot; one <a href=\"https://www.instagram.com/p/CAvDhNoFTjS/?utm_source=ig_embed\">Instagram post</a>, with different edits of video, says. The posts say the woman antagonized the protesters and stabbed them with a knife.</p>\n\n<p>We don&rsquo;t know enough to tease out what&rsquo;s really happening. But different edits of this same recording highlight how it&rsquo;s being wielded to support rivaling perspectives. With <a href=\"https://twitter.com/HotepAlbania/status/1265851248940646400?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1265866534490116096%7Ctwgr%5E&amp;ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fnypost.com%2F2020%2F05%2F28%2Fgeorge-floyd-protesters-attack-knife-wielding-woman-in-wheelchair%2F\">this version without sound</a>, someone tweets: &quot;Disabled white woman attacked by a mob of black people.&quot;&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>But that angle, another Twitter user <a href=\"https://twitter.com/BigKumiteEnergy/status/1265866438918709248?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1265866534490116096%7Ctwgr%5E&amp;ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fnypost.com%2F2020%2F05%2F28%2Fgeorge-floyd-protesters-attack-knife-wielding-woman-in-wheelchair%2F\">said</a>, &quot;is the racism a lot of white people will use in the coming days.&quot;&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>&quot;In the original video you find out this women had a knife and was stabbing people,&quot; the account says. &quot;But they are muting this video so they can make it seem like a group of black people attacked a disabled woman for no reason.&quot; The account posts <a href=\"https://twitter.com/BigKumiteEnergy/status/1265866534490116096?s=20\">the other version of the video</a>, with sound, in which people can be heard yelling that &quot;Jennifer&quot; is stabbing people.</p>\n\n<p>Yet another <a href=\"https://twitter.com/debostic/status/1265889213049905152?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1265889213049905152%7Ctwgr%5E&amp;ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fnypost.com%2F2020%2F05%2F28%2Fgeorge-floyd-protesters-attack-knife-wielding-woman-in-wheelchair%2F\">tweet</a> casts doubt on whether the woman even needs a wheelchair.&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>The confusion comes as people peddle misinformation about Floyd&rsquo;s death online. Among the false claims? That Floyd&rsquo;s death <a href=\"https://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2020/may/29/facebook-posts/conspiracy-theory-falsely-claims-george-floyds-dea/\">was staged</a>, that <a href=\"https://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2020/may/27/facebook-posts/ex-minneapolis-cop-misidentified-photo-man-wearing/\">a photo shows</a> Chauvin wearing a &quot;Make Whites Great Again&quot; hat, and that another photo <a href=\"https://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2020/may/27/viral-image/police-say-officer-stage-trump-isnt-derek-chauvin/\">shows him on stage</a> with President Donald Trump.&nbsp;</p>\n\n<div>&nbsp;</div>",
            "publication_date": "2020-05-29T17:11:50-04:00"
        },
        {
            "slug": "week-fact-checking-donald-trumps-pants-fire-week",
            "personalities": [],
            "headline": "The week in fact-checking: Donald Trump's Pants on Fire week, the death of George Floyd",
            "entry": "<p><strong>&quot;The Week in Fact-checking&quot; compiles short summaries of our best work; the links will take you to our full reports. Want this report early and via email? <a href=\"http://www.politifact.com/sign-up\">Sign up here</a>.&nbsp;</strong></p>\n\n<p><strong>This week:</strong> <em>Trump on mail-in balloting, Joe Scarborough, Nancy Pelosi and the First Amendment &hellip; The death of George Floyd: What you need to know​ ...&nbsp;Biden flubs CDC numbers &hellip; How high is support for mail-in voting? &hellip; No, a flu shot doesn&rsquo;t get you a false positive on a COVID-19 test &hellip; Ex-presidential smack-downs.&nbsp;</em></p>\n\n<div class=\"pf_subheadline\">Donald Trump&rsquo;s Pants on Fire week</div>\n\n<p>President Donald Trump hasn&rsquo;t had a good week when it comes to fact-checking. So far, he&rsquo;s earned four Pants on Fire ratings.</p>\n\n<p>What has Trump gotten wrong? Let&rsquo;s take a look.</p>\n\n<p><strong>Mail-in voting. </strong>Trump said that California Gov. Gavin Newsom &quot;is sending Ballots to millions of people, anyone living in the state, no matter who they are or how they got there, will get one&quot; and the election is &quot;rigged.&quot; <a href=\"https://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2020/may/26/donald-trump/no-california-not-sending-mail-ballots-anyone-stat/\">Pants on Fire!</a> Because of the risk of COVID-19, Newsom ordered counties to send mail-in ballots to registered voters, not &quot;anyone.&quot; Election experts have found voter fraud is exceedingly rare for mail-in voting.</p>\n\n<p><strong>Who supported Nancy Pelosi for House speaker. </strong>While endorsing a Republican for Pennsylvania&rsquo;s 7th Congressional District, Trump took a swipe at Democratic incumbent Conor Lamb. Lamb, Trump said, is &quot;a puppet for Crazy Nancy Pelosi. He said he would NOT vote for her for Speaker, and did.&quot; <a href=\"https://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2020/may/27/donald-trump/trump-said-pa-rep-conor-lamb-backed-nancy-pelosi-h/\">That&rsquo;s Pants on Fire</a>. Lamb said he wouldn&rsquo;t vote for her and actually didn&rsquo;t. Lamb voted for U.S. Rep. Joe Kennedy III of Massachusetts instead.</p>\n\n<p><strong>Whether Joe Scarborough murdered his staff member. </strong>It sounds ridiculous, but it&rsquo;s actually really sad. In 2001, a female staff member to then-Rep. Joe Scarborough was found dead in a Florida district office. The medical examiner determined she died when a heart problem caused her to faint and hit her head on the edge of a desk. Scarborough was in Washington, D.C. at the time of death, there has been no evidence to suggest foul play, and no official call to revisit the incident. That hasn&rsquo;t stopped Trump from claiming that there are &quot;many unanswered and obvious questions&quot; that law enforcement should look into about Scarborough, who is now host of MSNBC&rsquo;s &quot;Morning Joe.&quot; We rated the claim <a href=\"https://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2020/may/26/donald-trump/donald-trump-spreads-baseless-claim-msnbc-host-mur/\">Pants on Fire</a>.&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>What do all these statements have in common? Trump made them all on Twitter. It&rsquo;s long been the president&rsquo;s favorite platform for bragging about his own accomplishments, maligning perceived enemies and sharing random thoughts.&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>On Tuesday, Twitter did something new: It fact-checked Trump.</p>\n\n<p>After another of <a href=\"https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1265255835124539392\">Trump&rsquo;s tweets</a> claiming that mail-in balloting is a recipe for voter fraud, Twitter appended this note to Trump&rsquo;s tweet: &quot;<a href=\"https://twitter.com/i/events/1265330601034256384\">Get the facts about mail-in ballots</a>.&quot; The link leads to news stories and fact-checks that show the falsity of Trump&rsquo;s claims.&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p><strong>Trump&rsquo;s reaction to Twitter </strong>was the fourth <a href=\"https://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2020/may/27/donald-trump/trumps-pants-fire-claim-twitter-completely-stiflin/\">Pants on Fire</a>. &quot;Twitter is completely stifling FREE SPEECH, and I, as President, will not allow it to happen!&quot; Trump said.</p>\n\n<p>Trump is wrong: The First Amendment limits the government, not private platforms like Twitter. Twitter&rsquo;s decision to mark one tweet as misleading is itself protected under the First Amendment. That&rsquo;s what six legal experts told us. The First Amendment protects Twitter from Trump, one of them said. It doesn&rsquo;t protect Trump from Twitter.</p>\n\n<div class=\"pf_subheadline\">The death of George Floyd and the Minneapolis protests</div>\n\n<p>As we ended the week, protesters took to the streets in Minneapolis and cities across the country to bring attention to&nbsp;the May 25 death of George Floyd.</p>\n\n<p>Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, died in police custody after a white officer pinned Floyd&rsquo;s neck under his knee while Floyd pleaded that he couldn&rsquo;t breathe.</p>\n\n<p>Our coverage includes:</p>\n\n<ul>\n\t<li><a href=\"https://www.politifact.com/article/2020/may/29/death-george-floyd-what-you-need-know/\">The death of George&nbsp;Floyd: What you need to know</a>;<br>\n\t&nbsp;</li>\n\t<li><a href=\"https://www.politifact.com/article/2020/may/29/fact-checking-misinformation-about-george-floyd-pr/\">fact-checks of misinformation about the protests in Minneapolis</a>;<br>\n\t&nbsp;</li>\n\t<li>the conflicting stories about <a href=\"https://www.politifact.com/article/2020/may/29/conflicting-stories-about-woman-wheelchair-middle-/\">a woman in a wheelchair</a> at the protests; and,<br>\n\t&nbsp;</li>\n\t<li>the history of the phrase Trump tweeted,&nbsp;&#39;<a href=\"https://www.politifact.com/article/2020/may/29/miami-67-donald-trump-2020-history-when-looting-st/\">when the looting starts, the shooting starts</a>.&#39;</li>\n</ul>\n\n<div class=\"pf_subheadline\">Fact-checks of the week</div>\n\n<p><strong>Biden on the CDC in China: </strong>Former Vice President Joe Biden argues that President Donald Trump failed to protect the country from the coronavirus when he had the chance. &quot;We had over 44, if I&rsquo;m not mistaken, people from the CDC in China, in China to observe what was going on,&quot; Biden said. &quot;The president brought home the vast majority of them, I think left only four in place.&quot; <a href=\"https://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2020/may/21/joe-biden/under-donald-trump-key-cdc-us-staff-china-fell-0/\">We rated this Half True</a>. Biden garbled the numbers. The actual staffing went from 8 Americans and 39 Chinese (47), to 3 Americans and 11 Chinese (14). But within that, the American staff working specifically on new threats like COVID-19 went from four to zero.</p>\n\n<p><strong>Klobuchar on mail-in voting:</strong> Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota said recently that 80% of the people&quot; want the option of voting by mail. <a href=\"https://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2020/may/21/amy-klobuchar/amid-pandemic-polls-show-support-voting-mail/\">We rated that Half True</a>. Klobuchar cherry-picked a poll by a liberal group that framed the question in a positive way and resulted in higher support than other national polls. The other polls showed support between 58% and 72% for voting by mail.</p>\n\n<p><strong>&quot;Beat Biden&quot; or &quot;Be Biden&quot;?&nbsp;</strong>Social media users are misquoting Biden, sharing an out-of-context clip that they claim shows him accidentally saying he is going to beat himself in the upcoming presidential election. &quot;Joe Biden tells voters he&rsquo;s &lsquo;going to beat Joe Biden,&rsquo;&quot; said the headline. <a href=\"https://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2020/may/26/blog-posting/biden-beating-biden-social-media-users-misquote-bi/\">We rated this False</a>. In its complete context, the video from a CNBC interview appears to show Biden saying he&rsquo;s &quot;going to be Joe Biden.&quot; The words &quot;beat&quot; and &quot;be&quot; do sound similar, but the context is telling, with Biden saying he&rsquo;s going to stay true to his own political positions.&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p><strong>Knowing the facts has never been more important. <a href=\"https://checkout.fundjournalism.org/memberform?org_id=politifact&amp;campaign=7011L00000108c5QAA\">Please consider donating to PolitiFact today.&nbsp;</a></strong></p>\n\n<div class=\"pf_subheadline\">PolitiFact on YouTube: Ex-presidential put-downs</div>\n\n<p>We recently fact-checked whether former President Barack Obama is the first ex-president to speak ill of his successor. Our research showed that from Hoover to Truman, Ford to Carter and beyond, ex-presidents have criticized the person who followed them into office.&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>Watch PolitiFact reporter Jon Greenberg recap the history of the presidential put-down in our latest Truth-O-Meter Minute YouTube video.</p>\n\n<div class=\"artembed\">See Figure 1 on PolitiFact.com</div>\n\n<p>And be sure to subscribe to our <a href=\"https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfyYK3GqcotDIAjcoReK3Hg\">YouTube channel</a> for more videos like this!</p>\n\n<div class=\"pf_subheadline\">Pants on Fire</div>\n\n<p>Do you smell smoke?&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>Here&#39;s your Pants on Fire fact-check of the week:&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p><a href=\"https://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2020/may/21/viral-image/flu-shots-arent-causing-false-positive-covid-19-te/\">&quot;If you have had a flu shot in the last 3-5 years, you will probably test positive&quot; for COVID-19.</a></p>\n\n<p>Actually, medical experts say the flu vaccine isn&rsquo;t causing false positives for people who take COVID-19 tests.</p>\n\n<p>See what else we&#39;ve rated <a href=\"https://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/rulings/pants-fire/\">Pants on Fire</a> this week.&nbsp;</p>\n\n<div class=\"pf_subheadline\">In case you missed it: Coronavirus uncertainties</div>\n\n<p>We&rsquo;ve been fact-checking claims about the coronavirus and COVID-19 for months now, and there&rsquo;s still a lot we don&rsquo;t know. We don&rsquo;t want the limitations of our knowledge to get lost. So we created <a href=\"https://www.politifact.com/article/2020/may/18/top-10-uncertainties-about-coronavirus/\">a Top 10 list</a> of the most pressing uncertainties about the coronavirus. It includes the questions we still have about how the virus is transmitted, what the symptoms are and how immunity works. <a href=\"https://www.politifact.com/article/2020/may/18/top-10-uncertainties-about-coronavirus/\">Check it out</a>!</p>",
            "publication_date": "2020-05-29T17:00:37-04:00"
        },
        {
            "slug": "trump-vs-biden-where-money-race-stands-today",
            "personalities": [],
            "headline": "Trump vs. Biden: Where the money race stands today",
            "entry": "<p>The presidential race may have taken a back seat to the coronavirus pandemic, its economic fallout, and anger over deaths in police custody. But the contest between President Donald Trump and expected Democratic nominee Joe Biden is proceeding, notably in the realm of fundraising.</p>\n\n<p>Here&rsquo;s a look at how the fundraising picture looks as of late May. We&rsquo;ll update it periodically as the campaign progresses.</p>\n\n<p>First, we&rsquo;ll look at funds raised by each candidate and their allies. On the advice of campaign finance experts, we&rsquo;re combining three types of money collected: money donated to the campaign itself, money donated to outside groups that support the candidate, and money donated to the Republican National Committee or Democratic National Committee, according to federal disclosure forms collected by the nonpartisan <a href=\"http://v\">Center for Responsive Politics</a>. While there are different rules governing how each of these types of groups can spend their money, combining the three gives the broadest look at how well-funded each candidate is.</p>\n\n<p>In the big picture, Trump leads Biden in funds raised, $670 million to $422 million:</p>\n\n<div class=\"artembed\">See Figure 1 on PolitiFact.com</div>\n\n<p>&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>Trump so far has been stronger in collecting donations to his campaign and to the RNC, while Biden has an edge in money raised by outside groups.</p>\n\n<p>These numbers and patterns will change as the campaign moves forward. Until Biden wrapped up the nomination in March, he faced a large primary field whose candidates competed with him for donations. Trump, by contrast, didn&rsquo;t have to worry about competing against any major primary rivals for funds.</p>\n\n<p>In addition, Trump has had a head start with a vehicle known as a joint fundraising committee, which is used to raise money for both the RNC and the Trump campaign. This entity is able to accept much larger amounts of money from donors than the campaign is on its own.</p>\n\n<p>Earlier this month, Biden <a href=\"https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/donors-can-now-give-620600-to-biden-and-dnc-expanding-democratic-big-money-fundraising/2020/05/16/d2bf51cc-978a-11ea-82b4-c8db161ff6e5_story.html\">created his own joint fundraising committee</a>, so he could close the gap in the coming months. (Fundraising disclosures from Biden&rsquo;s committee are not yet available.)</p>\n\n<p>How does this compare to the 2016 cycle? Here&rsquo;s how things looked between Trump and his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, at roughly this stage of the race:</p>\n\n<div class=\"artembed\">See Figure 2 on PolitiFact.com</div>\n\n<p>&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>Trump was then a first-time candidate who became the surprise nominee against a large group of Republican candidates. He trailed Clinton, a veteran politician who faced a much smaller field.&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>Clinton easily outpaced Trump in campaign fundraising and outside group support, though the RNC had an edge over the DNC.&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>Clinton had also run for president once before, in 2008, and was first lady to Bill Clinton, who won the presidency twice. So she had extensive connections to party donors that Trump at that point did not have. So the evolution of Trump into a comparative money machine is a notable accomplishment. (Incumbency helps, of course.)</p>\n\n<p>Also notable is that Biden has exceeded Clinton&rsquo;s fundraising at roughly the same point. Clinton and her allies had raised $371 million, compared with Biden&rsquo;s $422 million. Still, Trump has increased his own performance by an even greater factor, raising $670 million this cycle compared with just $187 million at this point in 2016.</p>\n\n<p>Fundraising isn&rsquo;t the only factor worth watching. Raising a lot of money but then quickly spending it leaves relatively little in the bank. Here&rsquo;s a look at the two candidates&rsquo; figures for cash on hand:</p>\n\n<div class=\"artembed\">See Figure 3 on PolitiFact.com</div>\n\n<p>&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>As this chart shows, Trump has the edge here as well, with about $211 million on hand, compared with $127 million for Biden. Again, these numbers will change as the candidates raise and spend additional money.</p>\n\n<p>Campaign finance experts said that Trump&rsquo;s start is impressive, but that Biden&rsquo;s position isn&rsquo;t cause for Democrats to panic.</p>\n\n<p>&quot;Incumbents usually start earlier and have a fundraising advantage,&quot; said Paul S. Herrnson, a University of Connecticut political scientist who specializes in campaign finance. &quot;One would expect the gap to close. Biden and the DNC are behind, which is always a cause for concern, but they should be able to catch up.&quot;</p>\n\n<p>Costas Panagopoulos, a Northeastern University political scientist, agreed, and added that &quot;recent cycles have confirmed that money does not ensure victories at the polls. For Biden, fundraising may be less consequential, because he already has sky-high national name recognition.&quot;</p>\n\n<p>Indeed, voters&rsquo; familiarity with Biden helped him become the presumptive nominee with a sizable war chest, despite his being among the weakest fund-raisers in the Democratic primary field.</p>\n\n<p>One wild card going forward is whether either candidate will be able to maintain the pace of fundraising he&rsquo;s&nbsp;demonstrated so far amid the pandemic, social distancing and the severe economic downturn.</p>\n\n<p>&quot;We are in a period of political polarization, and control over political institutions is very competitive, which usually leads to high spending&quot; Herrnson said. &quot;However, the economic slump and coronavirus may depress fundraising somewhat.&quot;</p>\n\n<p>But it&rsquo;s possible that the health and economic situation could actually end up stimulating donations, since voters will see the stakes as high on multiple fronts, Panagopoulos said.</p>",
            "publication_date": "2020-05-29T13:55:56-04:00"
        },
        {
            "slug": "what-ballot-harvesting-and-why-trump-tweeting-abou",
            "personalities": [],
            "headline": "What is ballot harvesting, and why is Trump tweeting about it during an election-year pandemic?",
            "entry": "<p>As many states take steps to encourage voting by mail amid the pandemic, President Donald Trump has frequently <a href=\"https://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2020/apr/09/donald-trump/donald-trumps-dubious-claim-thousands-are-conspiri/\">falsely </a>linked voting by mail to fraud and criticized the practice of &quot;ballot harvesting.&quot;</p>\n\n<p>&quot;Get rid of ballot harvesting, it is rampant with fraud. The USA must have voter I.D., the only way to get an honest count!&quot; he <a href=\"https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1250067500190089217?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1250067500190089217&amp;ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.newsweek.com%2Fwhat-ballot-harvesting-trump-claims-voting-method-rampant-fraud-1497822\">tweeted April 14</a>.&nbsp;</p>\n\n<div class=\"artembed\">See Figure 1 on PolitiFact.com</div>\n\n<p>Ballot harvesting isn&rsquo;t an official legal term, but it generally refers to someone collecting absentee ballots on behalf of others and then submitting them. Some voting rights experts see the term &quot;ballot harvesting&quot; as pejorative and prefer the term &quot;ballot collection.&quot; Many states allow at least certain individuals to collect some ballots on behalf of others.</p>\n\n<p>There have been isolated cases of fraud associated with ballot harvesting, including in a <a href=\"https://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2019/mar/13/dan-crenshaw/crenshaw-falsely-says-hr1-would-legalize-type-elec/\">North Carolina congressional race in 2018</a>. But Trump is wrong to suggest that such fraud is rampant.&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>Proponents say that the practice helps elderly voters and voters with disabilities, and that it falls under the general category of voter assistance.&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>The laws on ballot collection vary nationwide. Current battles over the practice are happening as election officials anticipate big increases in voting by mail because of pandemic fears.&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p><a href=\"https://www.politifact.com/article/2020/may/19/how-are-election-officials-preparing-pandemic-elec/\"><em><strong>RELATED: </strong></em>How battleground states are preparing for the pandemic election&rsquo;s massive increase in voting by mail</a></p>\n\n<div class=\"pf_subheadline\">Laws about ballot collection vary from state to state&nbsp;</div>\n\n<p>The earliest reference in the news we found to the term &quot;ballot harvesting&quot; was related to a 2001 scheme in Yonkers, N.Y., to fix several minor-party primary elections. The term wasn&rsquo;t used much before 2016, said Amber McReynolds, CEO of Vote at Home and the former director of elections in Denver.&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>Ballot harvesting or collection isn&rsquo;t fraudulent, unless it is done in a way that violates a state law, such as in <a href=\"https://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2020/apr/07/david-lewis/nc-republican-says-pelosi-tried-block-voter-id-abs/\">North Carolina&rsquo;s 9th Congressional District race </a>&nbsp;in 2018. Republicans there were <a href=\"https://www.wral.com/criminal-charges-filed-in-9th-district-absentee-ballot-fraud-scandal/18540683/\">criminally charged</a> for illegal ballot collection in order to beat a Democrat. The state ordered a new election after witnesses testified to tampering with absentee ballots.&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>Experts have pointed to scattered other examples of illegal ballot collection operations. The conservative Heritage Foundation says it has found 107 cases of fraud linked to absentee ballot collection in its <a href=\"https://www.heritage.org/voterfraud/search?combine=&amp;state=All&amp;year=&amp;case_type=24487&amp;fraud_type=24489&amp;page=7\">database</a>, which extends back a few decades.</p>\n\n<p>Nine states allow a family member to return a ballot for a voter, according to the <a href=\"https://www.ncsl.org/research/elections-and-campaigns/vopp-table-10-who-can-collect-and-return-an-absentee-ballot-other-than-the-voter.aspx\">National Conference of State Legislatures</a>. Twenty-seven states allow voters to designate someone to return their ballot for them, although some states have placed limits on who can collect the ballots or how many they can collect. Thirteen states are silent on the issue of ballot collection.</p>\n\n<p>In 2016, California expanded the practice with a new <a href=\"https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201520160AB1921\">law</a> that allowed anyone, including paid workers, to collect and return ballots. Previously, only relatives or people living together could submit ballots for one another.&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>Some news reports credited the Democrats&rsquo; use of the law with helping them win some 2018 congressional races, while some strategists called that an excuse for Republican losses.</p>\n\n<p>Either way, California Republicans <a href=\"https://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/columnists/story/2019-10-30/republicans-plan-to-engage-in-ballot-harvesting-after-devastating-2018-losses\">vowed </a>to <a href=\"https://www.politico.com/states/california/story/2020/04/28/california-republicans-were-prepared-to-match-democrats-on-ballot-harvesting-then-coronavirus-happened-1280474\">ramp up their own harvesting operations</a> for the 2020 elections. But the state GOP&rsquo;s stance changed during the past couple of months amid the pandemic. In April, GOP chair Jessica Millan Patterson sent a <a href=\"http://image.victory.cagop.org/lib/fe32157175640478731379/m/1/f65cd88a-5c9b-4471-8b6e-7dba4d31e2b0.pdf?utm_medium=email&amp;utm_source=mc&amp;utm_campaign=20200427_45943_PRBallotHarvesting_R_COMMS&amp;utm_content=4%2f15%2f20+Letter+to+Governor+Newsom+re%3a+Application+of+%e2%80%9cStay+At+Home%e2%80%9d+Order+to+May+12%2c+2020+special+elections\">letter </a>to Gov. Gavin Newsom stating that ballot harvesting, which may involve strangers visiting voters&rsquo; homes, now &quot;presents an intolerable risk to public health and safety.&quot;&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>Having a person go door to door gathering up mail ballots is ineffective on a mass scale, said University of Florida political scientist Michael McDonald.</p>\n\n<p>&quot;Logistically, voters with ballots in hand are usually not clustered enough to make it practical to do &lsquo;ballot harvesting&rsquo; the way Republicans talk about it,&quot; he said.&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>&quot;While there are always isolated incidents of any type of fraudulent activity in human endeavors, I have never seen a wide-scale attempt to &lsquo;harvest&rsquo; ballots against voters&rsquo; candidate preferences in a statewide or national election,&quot; he said.</p>\n\n<p><a href=\"https://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2020/may/21/amy-klobuchar/amid-pandemic-polls-show-support-voting-mail/\"><em><strong>RELATED: </strong></em>Amid pandemic, polls show support for voting by mail</a></p>\n\n<div class=\"pf_subheadline\">Litigation about ballot collection</div>\n\n<p>Lately, it has been Republicans who have authored bills to limit the number of ballots any individual can collect, said Wendy Underhill, an expert on elections at the National Conference of State Legislatures.</p>\n\n<p>Democratic lawyers and groups, meanwhile, have challenged laws that limit or ban ballot collection. In January, <a href=\"https://www.azcentral.com/story/news/politics/elections/2020/01/27/arizona-ballot-harvesting-law-discriminates-minority-voters-ninth-circuit/4589610002/\">the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit</a> ruled that Arizona&rsquo;s ban on ballot harvesting violates the Voting Rights Act and disproportionately affects minority voters. The state is appealing the case to the<a href=\"https://azcapitoltimes.com/news/2020/04/27/brnovich-takes-ballot-harvesting-case-to-u-s-supreme-court/\"> U.S. Supreme Court</a>.</p>\n\n<p>Priorities USA, a Democatic super PAC, filed challenges to ballot collection restrictions in Florida and <a href=\"https://www.inquirer.com/news/democratic-lawsuit-pennsylvania-voting-by-mail-2020-20200422.html\">Pennsylvania</a> and, before the pandemic, in Michigan.</p>\n\n<p>The <a href=\"https://protectthevote.com/\">Republican National Committee</a> has fought efforts to expand ballot collection and defended state laws that limit ballot collection in many battleground states. Republicans are seeking to defend <a href=\"http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&amp;Search_String=&amp;URL=0100-0199/0104/Sections/0104.0616.html\">Florida&rsquo;s current law</a> that bans paid ballot collectors from possessing more than two per cycle in addition to their own ballot.&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>The RNC also opposes a <a href=\"https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/6379\">bill</a> supported by <a href=\"https://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2020/apr/07/david-lewis/nc-republican-says-pelosi-tried-block-voter-id-abs/\">House Speaker Nancy Pelosi</a> that says states &quot;may not put any limit on how many voted and sealed absentee ballots any designated person can return.&quot;</p>\n\n<p>The litigation creates uncertainty about how ballot collections will occur this year.</p>\n\n<p>Voters need multiple secure options to make voting by mail easier, McReynolds said, whether it&rsquo;s prepaid postage, places to drop off absentee ballots or being able to give your ballot to a trusted friend to drop it off. She pointed to Colorado, which limits collections to 10 ballots, as an example of a safeguard.</p>\n\n<p>&quot;We have to protect voters against bad actors trying to do something like what happened in North Carolina, but it&rsquo;s a balance,&quot; she said. &quot;We have to make sure voters are protected and the system is secure, but also make sure if voters need help they can get it. That&rsquo;s been my concern about third-party collection. Yes, it can be great, but it can also be bad for voters.&quot;</p>\n\n<p><br>\n&nbsp;</p>",
            "publication_date": "2020-05-29T11:58:43-04:00"
        },
        {
            "slug": "fact-checking-trump-twitter-enters-uncharted-water",
            "personalities": [],
            "headline": "Fact-checking Trump, Twitter enters uncharted waters",
            "entry": "<p>Two sets of tweets from President Donald Trump show the cracks in Twitter&rsquo;s evolving policy on policing false information.</p>\n\n<p>For the first time ever, the social media platform added a cautionary flag to a Trump tweet about election fraud. But a baseless tweet alleging murder, Twitter left untouched.</p>\n\n<p>Trump&rsquo;s May 26 posts about rampant <a href=\"https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1265255835124539392\">election fraud with mail-in ballots</a> prompted Twitter to tack a link at the bottom that said, &quot;Get the facts about mail-in ballots.&quot; That link took users to a page where Twitter wrote, &quot;Trump makes unsubstantiated claim that mail-in ballots will lead to voter fraud.&quot; The page mentioned CNN and Washington Post reports that debunked the claim.</p>\n\n<div class=\"artembed\">See Figure 1 on PolitiFact.com</div>\n\n<p>In contrast, Twitter let stand Trump&rsquo;s tweet suggesting that MSNBC host Joe Scarborough murdered a staffer about 20 years ago. We rated that <a href=\"https://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2020/may/26/donald-trump/donald-trump-spreads-baseless-claim-msnbc-host-mur/\">Pants on Fire</a>, and every other news organization that looked at the assertion also found it lacked a scrap of supporting evidence.</p>\n\n<p>University of Notre Dame professor Tim Weninger said Twitter&rsquo;s moves don&rsquo;t add up to a coherent policy.</p>\n\n<p>&quot;If the voting tweet was fact-checked by Twitter, then surely the factually false conspiracy tweet implying that Joe Scarborough was somehow involved in the death of a staff member should be fact-checked as well,&quot; Weninger said.</p>\n\n<p>Twitter said there&rsquo;s more to come on the policy front, <a href=\"https://www.poynter.org/newsletters/2020/president-trump-is-finally-checked-by-twitter-but-not-for-the-tweets-you-might-think/\">saying</a>&nbsp; it hopes to have &quot;changes in place shortly.&quot;</p>\n\n<p>Meanwhile, Trump <a href=\"https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1265427539008380928\">has charged</a>, on Twitter, that the company is &quot;stifling his free speech&quot; (which earned another <a href=\"https://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2020/may/27/donald-trump/trumps-pants-fire-claim-twitter-completely-stiflin/\">Pants on Fire</a> rating from PolitiFact).&nbsp;On May 28, he signed an executive order to increase regulation of Twitter and other social media platforms.</p>\n\n<p>Until now, Twitter has given political messages, and certainly any of Trump&rsquo;s tweets, a wide berth.&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>Its current <a href=\"https://help.twitter.com/en/rules-and-policies\">rules</a> aim to provide a free and safe space for public conversation, and focus on clear cut matters of protecting people from real harm. As the presidential election season began, it announced it would not accept paid political ads.</p>\n\n<p>But it targeted two areas for policing &mdash; elections and COVID-19.&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>It banned tweets for &quot;the purpose of manipulating or interfering in elections.&quot; This included &quot;posting or sharing content that may suppress voter turnout or mislead people about when, where, or how to vote.&quot;</p>\n\n<p>Twitter&rsquo;s press office said in an email that Trump&rsquo;s mail-in ballot tweets didn&rsquo;t violate its standards, but did &quot;contain potentially misleading information about voting processes,&quot; and merited &quot;additional context.&quot;</p>\n\n<p>To provide that context, it borrowed the approach <a href=\"https://blog.twitter.com/en_us/topics/product/2020/updating-our-approach-to-misleading-information.html\">it had crafted</a> two weeks earlier to help with COVID-19. When a mixture of people and machine power spotted a tweet that ran counter to what doctors were saying about the disease, Twitter would add the &quot;Get the facts&quot; link to deliver more information. That is the note that appeared on Trump&rsquo;s election fraud tweets.&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>The controversial claims of high-profile politicians have been the third rail of social media, and Twitter stepped on it. Facebook, which partners with PolitiFact and other fact-checkers to police false posts, refuses to downgrade statements from politicians as part of its overall third-party fact-checking program. Facebook CEO <a href=\"https://www.foxnews.com/media/facebook-mark-zuckerberg-twitter-fact-checking-trump?utm_source=Sailthru&amp;utm_medium=email&amp;utm_campaign=New%20Campaign&amp;utm_term=First%20Read\">Mark Zuckerburg told Fox News</a> that private companies &quot;shouldn&#39;t be the arbiter of truth.&quot;</p>\n\n<p>With Twitter entering uncharted waters, analysts of social media and society offered some guideposts as the platform navigates the path ahead.</p>\n\n<div class=\"pf_subheadline\">Consider reach, influence</div>\n\n<p>The analysts we spoke to said Twitter should focus on users with the greatest reach. Someone with a large following, like @RealDonaldTrump with 80 million followers, has more potential for doing damage by spreading false information.&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>&quot;By virtue of his position, President Trump fulfills both of those requirements,&quot; said Emily Vraga, a University of Minnesota professor of&nbsp; communication. &quot;His tweets are likely to reach a lot of people and to be believed and potentially acted upon. As a result, more scrutiny, not less, should be applied to the information he &mdash; or anyone in a similar position &mdash; is sharing.&quot;</p>\n\n<p>Bhaskar Chakravorti, dean of global business at Tufts University, said Twitter should be free to apply standards of accuracy.</p>\n\n<p>&quot;A private company like Twitter has no obligation to create a platform that gives license for unmoderated free speech that can cause public harm,&quot; Chakravorti said.</p>\n\n<div class=\"pf_subheadline\">A challenge of defining harm</div>\n\n<p>The two Trump tweets, one about elections and the other about Scarborough, illustrate where things get tricky.</p>\n\n<p>The widower of the woman Trump implied was murdered&nbsp; <a href=\"https://int.nyt.com/data/documenthelper/6968-jack-dorsey-letter/ffaa205b1364518c15b3/optimized/full.pdf\">asked Twitter</a> CEO Jack Dorsey, to pull down Trump&rsquo;s tweets.</p>\n\n<p>&quot;I&#39;m asking you to intervene in this instance because the President of the United States has taken something that does not belong to him &mdash; the memory of my dead wife and perverted it for perceived political gain,&quot; Timothy Klausutis wrote May 21.</p>\n\n<p>But the analysts agreed that elections involve a broader social impact than the personal pain for the friends and family of the stricken Scarborough staffer.</p>\n\n<p>&quot;Misinformation that has the potential for harm to people, society and democratic institutions should be scrutinized most closely,&quot; said Chakravorti.</p>\n\n<p>For Vraga, it isn&rsquo;t clear that the Scarborough tweet crossed that threshold.</p>\n\n<p>&quot;Believing that a prominent public figure may have committed heinous acts does not have the same immediate potential for public harm,&quot; she said. &quot;Claims about election fraud have a potentially huge public impact, undermining public faith in our system of democracy. The harm from this distrust is incalculable.&quot;</p>\n\n<p>But for Weninger, factually, Trump&rsquo;s tweets about Scarborough were more blatantly false than the questions Trump raised about mail-in voting.</p>\n\n<p>&quot;For slander and baseless murder accusations, Twitter has to try to handle all or most of those cases,&quot; Weninger said.</p>\n\n<div class=\"pf_subheadline\">Adding more information beats deleting a tweet</div>\n\n<p>Our experts were in full agreement that especially with public figures like Trump, Twitter&rsquo;s best approach would be to do exactly what it did &mdash; add context.</p>\n\n<p>&quot;Respecting the First Amendment and the public&rsquo;s right to speak in defense of their position is a foundational principle that should be stringently protected,&quot; Vraga said.</p>\n\n<p>At the same time, she added, claims can&rsquo;t be divorced from the facts.</p>\n\n<p>&quot;Warning people about misinformation and giving them an easy way to access the facts can limit misinformation&#39;s effects while reducing concerns about censorship,&quot; Vraga said.</p>\n\n<p>Chakravorti backed that idea, but warned that Twitter has to accept the role it has come to play.</p>\n\n<p>&quot;The social media platforms have to give up the pretense that they are a pure public square with no editorial responsibility,&quot; he said. &quot;Twitter needs to have a fact-checking system and continue to improve it over time. Also, it needs to be transparent about the rules that determine whether a tweet is flagged.&quot;</p>\n\n<div class=\"pf_subheadline\">No half measures</div>\n\n<p>To date, Twitter has tried to wall off the areas where it will assert its judgment. It designated elections and COVID-19 for special attention.</p>\n\n<p>Its decision to flag Trump&rsquo;s election tweet suggests that it might not be able to pick and choose.</p>\n\n<p>&quot;I don&#39;t see how you can ring fence some topics for moderation and flagging and not others,&quot; Chakravorti said.</p>\n\n<p>Having taken the step to intervene on some issues and not others is unsustainable, he warned.&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>None of the analysts we reached said Twitter had done a good job of policing falsehoods, although they saw signs it was getting better.&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p><a href=\"https://blog.twitter.com/en_us/topics/company/2020/An-update-on-our-continuity-strategy-during-COVID-19.html\">In March</a>, Twitter said it would monitor for tweets that were a public health threat. In April, a study found that it <a href=\"https://reutersinstitute.politics.ox.ac.uk/types-sources-and-claims-covid-19-misinformation\">allowed twice as many false posts</a> to remain as Facebook and YouTube.</p>\n\n<p>About a month after that study, Twitter announced it would <a href=\"https://blog.twitter.com/en_us/topics/product/2020/updating-our-approach-to-misleading-information.html\">flag questionable COVID related tweets</a>.</p>\n\n<p>And two weeks after that, it applied the same method to Trump&rsquo;s tweets on elections.</p>\n\n<p>As the company faced blowback from Trump and his supporters, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey struck a defiant tone.</p>\n\n<p>&quot;We&rsquo;ll continue to point out incorrect or disputed information about elections globally. And we will admit to and own any mistakes we make,&quot; Dorsey <a href=\"https://twitter.com/jack/status/1265837138114830336\">tweeted</a>.</p>\n\n<p><em><strong>UPDATE</strong>, </em>5:10 p.m.:<em>&nbsp;</em>This piece was updated after publication to note Trump&#39;s action on the executive order for social media companies.</p>",
            "publication_date": "2020-05-28T13:11:13-04:00"
        },
        {
            "slug": "how-fact-check-coronavirus-misinformation-your-tim",
            "personalities": [],
            "headline": "How to fact-check coronavirus misinformation on your timeline",
            "entry": "<p>Fact-checking your friends and family on social media is not as weird as you think &mdash; and it could help slow the spread of misinformation about the coronavirus.</p>\n\n<p><a href=\"https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2020/05/07/americans-are-fighting-coronavirus-misinformation-social-media/\">A recent survey</a> found that 34% of people reported seeing someone else get corrected for sharing about COVID-19 on social media. Nearly one-fourth of respondents said they had fact-checked coronavirus misinformation themselves, and more than two-thirds agreed that people should respond when they see someone sharing false claims.</p>\n\n<p>This is good news &mdash; <a href=\"https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10410236.2017.1331312?casa_token=stuioChbfeoAAAAA%3ApjXU_EItKCblUj_VWOEC8TFi-nk8mrzsv8K7Ysg20JxPX09kO3WqP9-zj4mSDp7PSwWWncFahpNd&amp;journalCode=hhth20\">research</a> <a href=\"https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1075547019890073?casa_token=D2SbzhlNL-IAAAAA%3AKRICaNQhAEu0YT39z_oTZgm_Vw2L_c7Slvektedzs_puuKBjwd_kSJ1saA7Yl_VKWS52IbADAALE&amp;journalCode=scxb\">shows</a> that, when people correct misinformation on their social media feeds, misperceptions decrease. For coronavirus-related falsehoods, correcting the record is even more important.</p>\n\n<p>Since the pandemic began, PolitiFact <a href=\"https://www.politifact.com/article/2020/mar/26/fact-checking-covid-19-prevention-treatment-myths/\">has fact-checked</a> several inaccurate claims about how to prevent or treat COVID-19. Many of them are dangerous, such as the bogus claim that <a href=\"https://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2020/jan/30/tweets/no-drinking-bleach-will-not-ward-coronavirus/\">drinking bleach</a> can destroy the virus or that <a href=\"https://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2020/may/19/facebook-posts/theres-no-evidence-wearing-standard-masks-harmful-/\">wearing a mask</a> in public is harmful. If taken seriously, that kind of misinformation could have dire health consequences.</p>\n\n<p>To make swatting down falsehoods a little easier for everyone, we created a guide for how to fact-check your friends and family on the coronavirus pandemic. Below are six tips to make your timelines a little more truthful.</p>\n\n<div class=\"pf_subheadline\">1. Don&rsquo;t brush it off</div>\n\n<p>When you see someone you know share something false about the coronavirus, take the matter seriously. Health misinformation has the potential to cause harm.</p>\n\n<p>&quot;In the middle of a pandemic, personal choice is inherently tied up in community. Every choice I make about being more safe and more risky has implications not just for me, but for a lot of other people,&quot; said Emily Vraga, associate professor of journalism at the University of Minnesota. &quot;That makes it more important that we do correct other people.&quot;</p>\n\n<p>Even though it may feel like a small action, fact-checking social media can make a difference. <a href=\"https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10410236.2017.1331312?casa_token=stuioChbfeoAAAAA%3ApjXU_EItKCblUj_VWOEC8TFi-nk8mrzsv8K7Ysg20JxPX09kO3WqP9-zj4mSDp7PSwWWncFahpNd&amp;journalCode=hhth20\">A study</a> Vraga co-authored in 2017 found that corrections can decrease health misperceptions online &mdash;&nbsp;even among the most ardent conspiracy theorists. This is <a href=\"https://www.poynter.org/fact-checking/2017/study-on-twitter-youre-better-off-fact-checking-your-crazy-uncle-than-a-complete-stranger/\">especially true</a> when you fact-check someone you know.</p>\n\n<p>&quot;For conspiracy theories this can actually be easier,&quot; said Drew Margolin, an assistant professor of communication at Cornell University, in an email. &quot;It&#39;s often the case that the theory is really a way of communicating distrust in a particular individual or entity. This is why the theories adapt so easily &mdash; they are motivated by distrust, not specific facts.&quot;</p>\n\n<p>In short: facts matter, and anyone can wield them to correct misperceptions about the coronavirus.</p>\n\n<div class=\"pf_subheadline\">2. Consider your approach</div>\n\n<p>Once you&rsquo;ve decided that you want to correct someone, the next step is to think about how you&rsquo;re going to do it. The goal is to convey accurate information in an analytical, scientific way &mdash; not make people mad or prove that you&rsquo;re smart.</p>\n\n<p>&quot;Try to avoid provoking them to defend themselves,&quot; Margolin said. &quot;This means either not embarrassing them &mdash; such as doing it in private &mdash; or, possibly, correcting diplomatically in front of others so that they do not lose face.&quot;</p>\n\n<p>When people feel attacked, they may think their worldview or reputation has been challenged. That leads to less analytic thinking, Margolin said, making a fact-based discussion much harder.</p>\n\n<p><strong><em>RELATED:</em> <a href=\"https://www.politifact.com/article/2020/mar/11/7-ways-avoid-misinformation-during-coronavirus-pan/\">7 ways to avoid misinformation during the coronavirus pandemic</a></strong></p>\n\n<p>Whether you correct someone in a private message or in front of others depends on the person. If you think they won&rsquo;t react well to a public correction, it&rsquo;s fine to reach out directly, especially if you want to preserve that relationship. But researchers say there&rsquo;s a benefit to fact-checking someone in front of other people.</p>\n\n<p>&quot;Social media actually makes it more important that we&rsquo;re willing to engage in those corrections because we know other people are going to see it, and we want to make sure that they&#39;re not left with the wrong information,&quot; Vraga said.</p>\n\n<div class=\"pf_subheadline\">3. Watch your language &mdash; or don&rsquo;t</div>\n\n<p>When you&rsquo;re fact-checking someone, it can help to use language that isn&rsquo;t too abrasive or belittling. A gentle approach can help the person you&rsquo;re correcting see that you have their best interest at heart.</p>\n\n<p>&quot;Particularly if it&rsquo;s a family member or a friend, there are also other things you might want to consider than just encouraging belief change,&quot; said Briony Swire-Thompson, a postdoctoral researcher at Northeastern University&#39;s Network Science Institute. &quot;You might want to give the correction in a kind way, just because no one wants to be wrong.&quot;</p>\n\n<p>But that&rsquo;s not always the case &mdash;&nbsp;how you phrase a fact-check depends on the person you&rsquo;re correcting. Preliminary research from Vraga, Leticia Bode of Georgetown University and Melissa Tully of the University of Iowa suggests that corrections are good at changing misperceptions regardless of their tone.</p>\n\n<p>&quot;When you correct someone, the correction works equally well when it&rsquo;s uncivil or neutral,&quot; Vraga said. &quot;You can use the language you think is most appropriate. Maybe a snarky tone is appropriate for that relationship.&quot;</p>\n\n<p>Regardless of how you speak to the person you&rsquo;re correcting, experts agree that compassion is key. Try saying things like &quot;I was confused, too&quot; or &quot;I understand why you shared this.&quot;</p>\n\n<p>&quot;You can refute the hoax but acknowledge the validity of the concern,&quot; Margolin said.</p>\n\n<div class=\"pf_subheadline\">4. Avoid repeating misinformation. Say what&rsquo;s true</div>\n\n<p>When writing your fact-check, try to emphasize what&rsquo;s right instead of what&rsquo;s wrong. This works two ways.&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>First, focusing on the facts could resonate more with the person you&rsquo;re correcting, as they may feel less attacked. Second, <a href=\"https://psycnet.apa.org/record/2018-46919-001\">research shows</a> that, the more people hear a false claim, the more it resonates with them &mdash;&nbsp;even if it&rsquo;s presented alongside a correction.</p>\n\n<p>&quot;Repeating the misinformation is the biggest thing that we really need to be careful about,&quot; Vraga said. &quot;The more we hear something the more we think it&rsquo;s true.&quot;</p>\n\n<p><strong><em>RELATED:</em> <a href=\"https://www.politifact.com/article/2020/may/18/top-10-uncertainties-about-coronavirus/\">Top 10 uncertainties about the coronavirus</a></strong></p>\n\n<p>Instead of repeating the false claim, try using just a link to refer to it. Or speak about it in vague terms, such as &quot;I saw your post about wearing masks.&quot; The goal is to get to your correction as quickly as possible.</p>\n\n<p>&quot;Clarity is certainly one of the main goals,&quot; Swire-Thompson said. &quot;If you make it really wordy and complicated so that no one reads it, or when you bury the corrective element in a way that people just kind of skim past it, it can be less effective.&quot;</p>\n\n<div class=\"pf_subheadline\">5. Choose your sources wisely</div>\n\n<p>The backbone of any fact-check is its source list. The same goes for corrections on social media.</p>\n\n<p><a href=\"https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/1369118X.2017.1313883\">One 2017 study</a> found that corrections of misinformation about the Zika virus were more effective when a source was provided. Fact-checks are <a href=\"https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1075547017731776?journalCode=scxb\">even more effective</a> when they come from expert sources like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the World Health Organization, which <a href=\"https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public/myth-busters\">maintains a list</a> of debunked coronavirus myths.</p>\n\n<p>However, experts say the kind of source you use should depend on the person you&rsquo;re correcting. Try to find a credible source that the person respects.</p>\n\n<p>&quot;If you can debunk misinformation using Fox News and this is a Fox News user, you should try to do that,&quot; Vraga said. &quot;Think about who are the sources they&rsquo;re going to trust. If they&rsquo;re not going to trust the CDC, maybe go to your local health organization.&quot;</p>\n\n<p>Don&rsquo;t rely on a single link to correct someone, either. Experts say two sources are better than one.</p>\n\n<p>&quot;It&#39;s not exactly clear why this is, but one theory is that it helps people identify relevant information to reconstruct their understanding, rather than just telling them to excise some specific beliefs from their knowledge, leaving it with weird holes,&quot; Margolin said. &quot;Another possibility is that it&#39;s harder to attack the source when there are many sources.&quot;</p>\n\n<p>When in doubt, try&nbsp;linking to articles from independent fact-checking organizations. <a href=\"https://www.poynter.org/coronavirusfactsalliance/\">They&rsquo;ve debunked</a> more than 6,000 claims about COVID-19 around the world.</p>\n\n<div class=\"pf_subheadline\">6. Focus on facts, not values</div>\n\n<p>This tip holds true when fact-checking any kind of misinformation, whether it has to do with health or politics.</p>\n\n<p><a href=\"https://www.poynter.org/fact-checking/2017/fact-checking-changes-minds-but-not-votes-according-to-new-research/\">A 2017 study</a> found that, when people were presented with a fact-check correcting a falsehood, they changed their belief in the claim. That finding held across party lines. However, the study noted that corrections did not change people&rsquo;s voting patterns.&nbsp;</p>\n\n<p>In short: fact-checking changes specific ideas, not votes &mdash; a finding that is echoed by <a href=\"https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2819073\">other</a> <a href=\"https://psyarxiv.com/ba2kc/\">studies</a> on the effect of corrections.</p>\n\n<p><strong><em>RELATED:</em> <a href=\"https://www.politifact.com/article/2014/aug/20/7-steps-better-fact-checking/\">7 steps to better fact-checking</a></strong></p>\n\n<p>&quot;In the context of the coronavirus, a common subtext is President Trump,&quot; Margolin said. &quot;If this is an ongoing struggle you are having with a family member, and you&#39;d like to correct them, find a way to defuse this point.&quot;</p>\n\n<p>A good way to do this is going back to tip No. 4: Focus on the facts. Research shows that fact-checks can decrease health misperceptions, but it&rsquo;s much harder to change the way people think or see the world.</p>\n\n<p>&quot;Frames that focus on the falsity/misleading nature of just the claim itself, without forcing substantial bigger changes, will work better,&quot; Margolin said. &quot;Avoid frames that make it seem like a struggle between you and them for power or reputation. These only make people more resistant.&quot;</p>",
            "publication_date": "2020-05-22T14:23:02-04:00"
        }
    ]
}