Get PolitiFact in your inbox.

Samantha Putterman
By Samantha Putterman March 20, 2023

No arrest pending for Dr. Anthony Fauci; these posts are part of a clickbait scheme

If Your Time is short

  • Dr. Anthony Fauci is not set to be arrested.

  • The post instructed social media users to click through to a video that doesn’t exist as part of a classic bait-and-switch tactic to gain followers.

"BREAKING: ANTHONY FAUCI is set to be arrested!!!" That’s the message social media users were confronted with in a slew of recent viral Instagram and Facebook posts. (Tip: When there are multiple exclamation points and ALL CAPS, be wary).

Fauci, the retired National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director and a popular scapegoat among far-right conservatives, is not facing arrest. The claim follows a long line of other fabrications about Fauci being indicted or arrested.

The claim appeared online March 16 and involved several posts that all used the same photo of Fauci and the same wording. After announcing the "breaking news" the rest of the message says:

"They are trying to censor this video and Mainstream media IS NOT reporting this! FAUCI has been charged for few crimes he made while he was Chief Medical Advisor. Republicans claim Fauci may be imprisoned for eight years for lying to Congress. Our Video was just removed by Instagram but you can see it if you CLICK LINK IN MY BIO NOW to Watch on our channel !! You will be immediately approved! NOTE: SHARE IT EVERYWHERE BEFORE IT’S TAKEN DOWN."

The posts were flagged as part of Meta’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.)

Some conservative commentators and politicians have called for Fauci’s arrest over his testimony to Congress about the COVID-19 pandemic’s origins. But we found no credible evidence — such as news reports or government press releases — that an arrest is set to happen.  

The post appears to be part of a clickbait scheme. The bait-and-switch comes as the caption instructs users to follow a link to a video that proves Fauci’s charges, but was "removed" by Instagram. But there is no video.

Featured Fact-check

The link instead leads to a page for "FyreFox Media," which appears to be a group aligned with former President Donald Trump. 

The page has one button labeled "Fauci." Clicking the button takes users to a Telegram channel called "Trump Explicit," which is described as a "PRIVATE CHANNEL Only for REAL TRUMP SUPPORTERS. Confidential TOP SECRET cases exposed. TRUMP IS OUR PRESIDENT."

Other accounts that shared the claim also led social media users to the same Telegram account.

Fauci appeared March 11 on CNN and told host Jim Acosta that remarks from high-profile people calling for his arrest are irresponsible and endanger his family. 

"Every time somebody gets out and spouts some nonsense that is misinformation, disinformation and outright lies, somebody somewhere decides they want to do harm to me and or my family," he said.

Fauci added that the threats are the reason he still needs security protection, even after stepping down in 2022 as a chief medical adviser to President Joe Biden and the institute.

We rate claims that say Fauci is set to be arrested Pants on Fire!

Our Sources

Browse the Truth-O-Meter

More by Samantha Putterman

No arrest pending for Dr. Anthony Fauci; these posts are part of a clickbait scheme

Support independent fact-checking.
Become a member!

In a world of wild talk and fake news, help us stand up for the facts.

Sign me up