Heading into 2021, the Snopes newsroom was in a steady routine of fact-checking election fraud rumors, COVID-19 denial claims, and pseudoscientific arguments against vaccinations. We were prepared for misleading memes or videos around those issues to keep surfacing — and they did.
But, as the year progressed, Snopes fact checkers addressed rumors that no one could have planned for.
[See also: 13 Bizarre Animal Antics Snopes Fact-Checked in 2021.]
Take a NSFW video that seemingly showed two gorillas “going down” on each other; a purported Facebook thread showing users touting ivermectin-soaked tampons as a method to overcome COVID-19, or videos and memes promoting the scientifically illiterate claim that drinking apple juice can increase a person's penis size.
More topics that Snopes staff members said they couldn't believe needed fact-checking in 2021 are listed below. You can read all of our “Staff Picks & Standouts” for a variety of content categories here.
False. We tracked down the origins of the rumor that was displayed in online advertisements.
False. An uncredited meme would not likely be the first to report the discovery.
True. A NSFW video appeared to show two gorillas “going down” on each other.
Whether one should is another question entirely.
Unproven. The same person also shared photos that appeared to show various other contaminants in the same box of Cinnamon Toast Crunch.
False. The idiom “pooh-pooh” is used to dismiss arguments, opinions, or rumors that are not worthy of consideration.
False. Conspiracy theories abounded during a partisan recount of Arizona’s 2020 presidential election results.
False. YouTube, dank memes, and years-old clickbait collided in June 2020 to foster the scientifically illiterate conclusion that drinking apple juice makes your penis bigger.
Miscaptioned. Online advertisements for the FloraSpring weight loss supplement led users to pictures and video of Dr. Steven Masley, and mentions of a “pooping habit.”
Conspiracy theorists seized upon a supposedly satirical article, and deployed it as inflammatory disinformation against the president.
Fake screenshots of nonexistent CNN and NBC stories were the latest installment of a set of conspiracy theories completely detached from reality.
Miscaptioned. A series of fear-mongering videos were circulated on social media with unsubstantiated and false claims.
False. Social media users shared a pair of bizarre claims about the supposedly unique effects of COVID-19 vaccines on men.
False. This rumor is little more than a conspiratorial game of Mad Libs.
A purported Facebook thread showed users discussing soaking tampons with the anti-parasitic drug ivermectin — the medication that people against COVID-19 vaccinations have falsely promoted as a “miracle” solution for preventing or treating the disease.
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