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: Will Ferrell dies after a two-car crash
The facts: The actor and comedian sustained minor injuries when his limousine rolled over on a Los Angeles-area freeway last week, Orange County, California authorities said. A report carried by the breaking-cnn site reported that Ferrell died on April 14, two days after a car hit the SUV he was riding in. A woman was critically hurt and two other men suffered minor injuries in the crash. Ferrell, who first rose to fame on “Saturday Night Live,” had been appearing in character at an event as Ron Burgundy, the 1970s anchorman from the “Anchorman” movies.
Not real: Colorado McDonald’s offers first marijuana friendly smoking section in restaurant
The facts: Marijuana may be legal in Colorado, but smoking parlors aren’t replacing the children’s play areas at the local McDonald’s. The Now 8 News site claimed 15 restaurants in the state would have pods where customers can smoke marijuana-filled joints, bongs or pipes. McDonald’s spokesman Khim Aday says he “can confirm 100 percent that this is not true.” Colorado was the first state with legal recreational marijuana sales, starting in 2014.
Not real: The best dialogue starts over a cup of coffee and we’d like to buy you one
The facts: Starbucks is not giving out free drinks to people of color. The phony coupons are being spread on social media through accounts that identify as white nationalists, following the arrest of two black men at a Philadelphia Starbucks. The coupons appear with pictures of coffee drinks and the headline “We’re Sorry.” Starbucks, which has pledged to conduct racial bias training for its 175,000 workers, said the coupons are “completely false and in no way associated with Starbucks.”
A worker called the police on the men while they waited for someone to join them for a business meeting, saying they had not purchased anything and refused to leave.
Not real: Betsy DeVos orders immediate flattening of all school globes
The facts: U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos hasn’t ordered that globes in classrooms across America be flattened, contrary to a story being shared on social media. The story originated on the Alternative Science satire site. It says the order went out to U.S. Education Department staffers in a weekend email and quotes DeVos as saying globes will be “flattened like God made it just 6,000 years ago.” A spokeswoman for the department says no such email exists.
Not real: Stormy Daniels killed in Syrian airstrike
The facts: Two satire sites recently circulated false stories reporting that porn actress Stormy Daniels had died, either in an airstrike in Syria or in a suicide. Daniels, who claims she had an affair in 2006 with President Donald Trump, was photographed Monday entering a courthouse for a hearing in a federal case in New York involving the U.S. president’s personal attorney. The Waterford Whispers News reported two days earlier that the actress and “several other women who have accused the U.S. President of sexual misconduct in the past” were killed in the April 13 Syrian airstrikes. Daily World Update wrote in late March that Daniels had died of “an intentional overdose.” That story incorrectly stated Daniels’ legal name is Penelope Withers; it is Stephanie Clifford.
This is part of The Associated Press’ ongoing effort to fact-check misinformation that is shared widely online, including work with Facebook to identify and reduce the circulation of false stories on the platform.