Here’s the AP’s 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: Elon Musk Leaves Tesla, Jumps On Financial Tech
THE FACTS: Elon Musk has not announced plans to leave Tesla to start a digital currency company despite a false report circulating online. The report, carried on a webpage made to look like the CNN Tech site, claims that Musk is leaving his job as CEO of the company to focus on “Bitcoin Profit.” Links in the story for Bitcoin Profit redirect the user to advertisements or video streaming sites. A similar report made headlines in September and has circulated since then, sometimes with slightly different details. Kamran Mumtaz, a spokesman for Tesla, said the reports are false. CNN said the story and graphics published on the page were false and had been manufactured to appear as a CNN.com article. Attempts to reach creators of the webpage were unsuccessful.
NOT REAL: Dollar General giving away $150 coupons
THE FACTS: Dollar General is not giving away $150 coupons online to celebrate 135 years of service despite a fake offer circulating on social media. When users click on the fake coupon, a page opens offering congratulations and telling users they have been selected to take a short survey for which they will receive a $150 store coupon. It then claims there are only a few coupons remaining. Once the three questions have been answered, it prompts the user to share the page on Facebook, thank Dollar General in the comments, and then “like” it. It tells users they just got a $150 coupon, but seeks no contact information. “The $150 coupon circulating on Facebook is not valid and cannot be redeemed in stores or online,” said Mary Kathryn Colbert, Dollar General public relations manager. Additionally, the company was founded in 1939, meaning they have been in business for 79 years, not 135 years as claimed.
This feature is part of The Associated Press’ ongoing effort to fact-check misinformation that is shared widely online, including working with Facebook to identify and reduce the circulation of false stories on the platform.