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Daniel Funke
By Daniel Funke December 23, 2019

Over the past year, PolitiFact has sifted through hundreds of false or misleading Facebook posts. The fakery ran the gamut from hoaxes about Taco Bell menu items to conspiracy theories about Joe and Hunter Biden’s dealings in Ukraine. Some falsehoods were published as simple text posts, while others were misleadingly edited videos.

Many of the posts we debunked were surfaced through our partnership with Facebook, which began three years ago this month. That partnership lets our staff see posts that have been flagged as potentially false or misleading. After we rate something as false, Facebook decreases its future reach in the News Feed, and users who shared it receive a notification. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)

To see which hoaxes got the most traction in 2019, PolitiFact tallied our 10 most-read Facebook fact-checks of the year.

(Screenshot from Facebook)

Claim: Says President Donald Trump has donated $1 million to a relief fund for the Bahamas in the wake of Hurricane Dorian while no other politicians have contributed any money.

Rating: False

We found no evidence that Trump personally donated $1 million to Bahamas relief efforts. News outlets didn’t write about such a move and the White House itself didn’t release any statements about it.

Claim: "The KKK was formed by the Democratic Party."

Rating: False

Many Southern whites during the late 19th century were Democrats, some of whom joined the KKK. But the group was more of a grassroots creation, and the Democratic Party was not the same as it is today.

Claim: Says Hillary Clinton sold 20% of America’s uranium to Russia and then "the Russian government gave $145 million to the Clinton Foundation." Former FBI Director and special counsel Robert Mueller "delivered it."

Rating: Mostly False

Clinton does not bear sole responsibility for the deal since several departments and agencies were part of its approval. And there is no proof of any quid pro quo between the Clinton Foundation and Russia.

(Screenshot from Facebook)

Claim: Says Michelle Obama "had a staff of 23" while Melania Trump "has a staff of 4."

Rating: Half True

While the number for Obama is more or less accurate, Trump’s number is too low. It’s also misleading to single out Obama since Trump’s staff is smaller than any first lady’s staff in decades.

Claim: Undocumented immigrants get Medicare for free.

Rating: False

There have been some reported cases of undocumented immigrants improperly receiving benefits, but they’re not eligible for Medicare. As for payment, some people are charged and some aren’t — it depends on the plan they’re on.

Claim: There were no American flags at the first Democratic presidential debate.

Rating: False

Photos of the debate show no physical American flag. But the stage had a set that featured images of the flag.

(Screenshot from Facebook)

Claim: Quotes Trump as saying in 2013, "A shutdown falls on the President’s lack of leadership. He can’t even control his own party and get people together in a room. A shutdown means the president is weak."  

Rating: Half True

We could not find Trump saying these exact words, but he did repeat similar statements on social media and in interviews.

Claim: Says the sons of Nancy Pelosi, Mitt Romney and John Kerry are all on the boards of "energy companies doing business in Ukraine."

Rating: False

Pelosi’s son briefly served on the board of an American energy company, but there’s no evidence the company had dealings with Ukraine while he held that seat. There is no evidence that any of Kerry or Romney’s sons have worked for energy companies with ties to Ukraine.

Claim: Members of Congress can "retire with the same pay after only one term" in office.

Rating: Pants on Fire!

It's never full pay. And the only one-term members who would be eligible for any pension would be senators.

(Screenshot from Facebook)

Claim: A New York law makes it "now perfectly legal to murder" a baby a minute before it would be born.  

Rating: False

The Reproductive Health Act permits abortion after 24 weeks of pregnancy — if the mother’s health is threatened or if the fetus isn’t viable. The post doesn’t highlight those clear restrictions.

See a fishy claim on Facebook that you think we should fact-check? Send it to [email protected].

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10 of the most popular Facebook fact-checks of 2019