Popular, incendiary and totally fictitious: A look at what didn't happen this week

Posted at 5:31 PM, Apr 06, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-06 17:31:53-04

A roundup of some of the most popular but completely untrue headlines of the week. None of these stories is legit, even though they were shared widely on social media. The Associated Press checked these out; here are the real facts:

NOT REAL: Breaking: Trey Gowdy Breaks His Silence After 2 Of His Investigators Are Found Tortured And Killed

THE FACTS: An online story that claimed two deputies on their way to deliver a search warrant at the Clinton Presidential Library were killed in Arkansas is "100 percent false." That's according to Amanda Gonzalez, a spokeswoman for Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C. The incorrect story on the americacomefirst site alleged the deputies were investigators for Gowdy and that as a result of their deaths, he was holed up in his office with protection from the U.S. Marshals Service. The piece attributed a false statement to Gowdy, alleging he said a mole on one of his congressional committees leaked the deputies' travel plans.

NOT REAL: Obama Appeal Denied: Judge Orders Him To Pay Back $400 Million

THE FACTS: Online stories have falsely claimed that federal courts have ordered former President Barack Obama to pay $400 million in restitution to the United States for money supposedly lost in a transaction with "hard-liners" in Iran. One version from the conservativenation site takes it a step further, alleging the U.S. Supreme Court has denied Obama's appeal. It calls the fictitious lower court the West Texas Federal Probate Court and gives a name for a supposed judge there who is not on the federal bench.

NOT REAL: Canadians Could Be Jailed or Fined for Using Incorrect Gender Pronouns

THE FACTS: No, Canadians can't be jailed just for calling someone "he" or "she" when the person uses another pronoun to refer to themselves. An article posted to The Daily Signal website said a law enacted last year would lead to hate crime charges against people who used an incorrect pronoun to describe a transgender person.

The bill added gender identity and gender expression as areas that can be grounds for discrimination under Canada's Human Rights Act. It also amended the country's criminal code to add protections for transgender people against hate speech. But Canadian legal and free speech experts say just using an incorrect pronoun isn't enough to qualify as criminal hate speech.