Get PolitiFact in your inbox.

People take photos at the 2022 New Year's Eve Numerals in Times Square on December 22, 2021 in New York. (AP) People take photos at the 2022 New Year's Eve Numerals in Times Square on December 22, 2021 in New York. (AP)

People take photos at the 2022 New Year's Eve Numerals in Times Square on December 22, 2021 in New York. (AP)

Sara Swann
By Sara Swann December 26, 2022

Throughout 2022, PolitiFact tackled misinformation across a myriad of issues, including multiple mass shootings, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, abortion access after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, and the midterm elections.

PolitiFact wanted to take a look at what fact-checks our readers clicked on the most.

Many of our top fact-checks were of statements surfaced through our partnership with Meta to debunk misinformation on Facebook and Instagram.

Most of the ones that appear on this list fell on the false side of our Truth-O-Meter, although one was rated Half True and another was Mostly True.

Here’s the PolitiFact countdown to the most popular fact-check of 2022.

10. Wisconsin state Sen. Mary Felzkowski, R-Irma: "Over-vaccination causes faster mutation of the (COVID-19) virus, which causes a super virus we may not have the ability to fight off."

Our ruling: False

State and national experts agree that the COVID-19 virus seeks to evade any form of immunity to stay alive, not just immunity from vaccines. In fact, vaccinations can play a role in slowing mutations of the virus because vaccinated people are less likely to become infected and tend to recover faster from COVID-19.

9. President Joe Biden: "When we passed the assault weapons ban, mass shootings went down. When the law expired, mass shootings tripled."

Our ruling: Mostly True

Following the Uvalde, Texas, school shooting that left 19 children and two teachers dead, Biden called for "common sense" gun laws, pointing to the 1994 federal assault weapons ban as an example. A key study backs up Biden’s claim that mass shooting deaths fell slightly during the decade-long ban, and then rose dramatically in the decade following. But in reality millions of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines remained in circulation during the ban, making it difficult to tease out the law’s impact.

8. Rep. Jake LaTurner, R-Kan.: The Keystone XL pipeline "would have produced 830,000 barrels of oil per day, more than enough to offset what we import from Russia."

Our ruling: Half True

With Russia’s invasion of Ukraine straining the global oil market, Biden faced criticism, from LaTurner and others, that he had made the United States more dependent on Russian oil by halting construction on the Keystone XL pipeline. While the pipeline would have been able to carry 830,000 barrels of oil per day, it would have required years of construction to reach that point and likely faced legal challenges. Even if completed, it’s not guaranteed the pipeline would have produced a net increase of 800,000 barrels per day, rather than just transporting oil from Canada that is now being transported via other methods. Also, producers would not have been obligated to sell all of the oil from the pipeline to the U.S.

7. Facebook posts: Schools are putting litter boxes in bathrooms to accommodate kids who identify as furries.

Our ruling: Pants on Fire!

School districts in several states, including Iowa, Michigan, Nebraska and Wisconsin, have debunked the claim that they are providing litter boxes in bathrooms. PolitiFact did not find any credible news reports that support this claim. (This story traces how the false claim spread from social media to prominent conservative voices, including Joe Rogan and U.S. Senate candidate Don Bolduc.)

6. Facebook posts: Aaron Salter Jr. was killed by a mass shooter in Buffalo, New York, because he was working on creating a water-powered car engine.

Our ruling: False

Aaron Salter Jr. was working as a security guard at Tops Friendly Markets in Buffalo, New York, when he and nine other victims were shot and killed by a white man who police say was motivated to kill Black people. Salter was indeed working on water-powered vehicle technology, but there is no evidence to back up the claim that the shooter targeted him for it.

5. Facebook posts: The man who killed the Uvalde, Texas, school shooter "wasn't even an on-duty police officer."

Our ruling: False

A tactical team shot and killed the 18-year-old gunman in the Uvalde school shooting, law enforcement said. One man named Jacob Albarado, a Border Patrol agent who was off duty at the time, drew national attention after he went to the school to find his daughter and wife. He helped with the evacuation effort, but he did not go inside Robb Elementary School or confront the shooter, as Facebook posts claimed.

4. Facebook posts: "California introduces new bill that would allow mothers to kill their babies up to 7 days after birth."

Our ruling: False

The bill would not legalize killing newborns in California. The legislator who introduced the bill said it is meant to ensure that people are not investigated, prosecuted or incarcerated for ending a pregnancy, experiencing pregnancy loss or for losing a baby after it is born due to pregnancy-related causes.

3. Facebook posts: Electric vehicles would not have fared well in the Virginia snowstorm traffic jam.

Our ruling: False

Cold weather can diminish the range of an electric vehicle. But when idling, as in a standstill traffic jam, an electric vehicle’s motor doesn’t run so the only draw on the battery is the heating system and other electrical accessories. A gasoline-powered vehicle, on the other hand, would need to keep the engine on to provide heat and could run out of gas while idling.

2. Facebook posts: The COVID-19 vaccines contain "HIV lipid wrappers."

Our ruling: Pants on Fire!

The Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines use lipids as a way to protect the mRNA that they surround. These fat molecules do not contain any live viruses. The ingredients for all the approved vaccines are published and none of the vaccines include any HIV material.

1. Facebook posts: Fires at food processing plants are an "attempt to starve us."

Our ruling: False

Over the course of about six months, several fires occurred at food processing plants, generating conspiracy theories that someone was setting them to cause a national food shortage crisis. Most of the fires were ruled accidental, or no foul play was suspected. There is no evidence that any of the fires were set intentionally to create a food shortage crisis in the United States.

Sign Up For Our Weekly Newsletter

Our Sources

See individual fact-checks for sources

Browse the Truth-O-Meter

More by Sara Swann

PolitiFact’s top 10 fact-checks of 2022