Really? 15 Rumors That Surprisingly Needed Snopes Fact-Checking in 2021

At no point did we expect that gorilla sex or ivermectin-soaked tampons would make headlines this year.

Published Dec 26, 2021

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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.

Should a Bottle Always Be Put on Tires When Parked?

False. We tracked down the origins of the rumor that was displayed in online advertisements.

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Did Greta Thunberg Disguise Herself as Pro-Trump Rioter?

False. An uncredited meme would not likely be the first to report the discovery.

Were Gorillas at Bronx Zoo Filmed Engaging in a Sex Act?

True. A NSFW video appeared to show two gorillas “going down” on each other.

Yes, You Can Order Pre-Stained ‘Wet Pants Denim’

Whether one should is another question entirely.

Image via Wet Pants Denim.

Did California Man Find Shrimp Tails in His Cereal Box?

Unproven. The same person also shared photos that appeared to show various other contaminants in the same box of Cinnamon Toast Crunch.

Are Goat and Sheep Feces Drinks Being Sold in China?

False. The idiom “pooh-pooh” is used to dismiss arguments, opinions, or rumors that are not worthy of consideration.

No, Maricopa County Ballots Weren’t Destroyed in a Chicken Farm Fire

False. Conspiracy theories abounded during a partisan recount of Arizona’s 2020 presidential election results.

Does Drinking Apple Juice ‘Make Your PP Bigger’?

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.

Did FloraSpring Help a 65-Year-Old Man ‘Poop Out 42 Pounds’?

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.”

No, Biden Did Not Say Unvaccinated Americans ‘Will Be Put in Camps’

Conspiracy theorists seized upon a supposedly satirical article, and deployed it as inflammatory disinformation against the president.

No, Joe Biden Did Not Lower the Age of Consent to 8

Fake screenshots of nonexistent CNN and NBC stories were the latest installment of a set of conspiracy theories completely detached from reality.

Does Video Show Athletes Fainting Due to COVID-19 Vaccine?

Miscaptioned. A series of fear-mongering videos were circulated on social media with unsubstantiated and false claims.

Did Doctors Recommend Genital COVID-19 Vaccination Injections for Men?

False. Social media users shared a pair of bizarre claims about the supposedly unique effects of COVID-19 vaccines on men.

Did Delta Force Raid Biden’s Compound in Ukraine?

False. This rumor is little more than a conspiratorial game of Mad Libs.

No, Don’t Use Ivermectin-Soaked Tampons as COVID-19 Prevention

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.

Want something fact checked in 2022? Submit your misinformation leads and questions to Snopes, subscribe to our newsletters, and support us financially by becoming a member or making a direct contribution.

Jessica Lee is Snopes' Senior Assignments Editor with expertise in investigative storytelling, media literacy advocacy and digital audience engagement.