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Not real news roundup: Crisis actors, Obama treason charges, and free doughnuts

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Not Real News School Shooting Florida

FILE- In this Feb. 15, 2018, file image made from video, David Hogg talks about his experiences at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High when a gunman opened fire and killed over a dozen students and faculty in Parkland, Fla. Hogg and Emma Gonzalez, two students who survived the Florida school shooting and spoke publicly about it, are not "crisis actors," despite the claims of several conspiracy-oriented sites and an aide to a Florida lawmaker. (AP Photo/Joshua Replogle, File)

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: The crisis actors of Florida Parkland school shooting

THE FACTS: Suspicion that students speaking to the media about the Florida school shooting that killed 17 were "crisis actors" who had not really been there sparked hundreds of false claims online. Much attention was focused on David Hogg and Emma Gonzalez, who spoke repeatedly on national television about the Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. The county superintendent, Robert Runcie, said Hogg and Gonzalez are "absolutely students" at the school. Several sites targeted Hogg after finding a YouTube video he posted in 2017 about a beach argument he witnessed while on vacation in California, and suggested he wasn't from Florida and had been seen on video elsewhere rehearsing his remarks.

NOT REAL: The U.S District Attorney has announced that he will be pursuing charges of TREASON against the former president Barack Obama

THE FACTS: No treason prosecution is underway against the former president "and any liberals or Democrats" working to undermine President Donald Trump, despite the claims of a piece on a site called conservativefighters. The site said that Dana Boente will pursue the charges against Obama, identifying him as "the U.S. District Attorney." He is now the general counsel to the FBI and never made any claims of a treason investigation.

NOT REAL: Florida shooting: No birth records for any of the victims

THE FACTS: A viral online video claimed victims in the Florida shooting are fictitious because their birth records don't appear on a genealogy web site, but Ancestry says it has no birth records at all from the state. Broward County Sheriff's officials released the names of the students and teachers shot to death on Feb. 14 at the Marjory Douglas Stoneman High School in Parkland, Florida, and police reports document officers seeing "multiple dead" people at the scene. The video posted on the website PewTube appears to show 13 searches for birth records of victims with no results. Florida officials say state birth records are confidential, and an Ancestry spokesman says Florida does not provide those records to the company for its database.

NOT REAL: Cuba claims Justin Trudeau is Fidel Castro's son

Not Real News Castro Trudeau

FILE - In this Jan. 1976 file photo, Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, right, waves after arriving in Havana, accompanied by Cuban leader Fidel Castro. A story claiming that Fidel Castro was the father of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is not true. The Canadian government denied it, Cuba has never claimed it and Trudeau's parents never visited Cuba until several years after Justin Trudeau was born. (AP Photo, File)

THE FACTS: Cuba never claimed that Canada's prime minister was the child of the Cuban leader. And the public visit by then-Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau and his wife, Margaret, to Cuba, happened more than four years after Justin Trudeau was born. The false report has circulated for years. It resurfaced after the Feb. 1 suicide of Castro's eldest son, Fidelito, and cited a suicide note referring to Trudeau as his half brother. Cuban media were unusually open about the death, but no state or independent media reported the existence of a suicide note.

NOT REAL: Dunkin' Donuts is providing a free box of Doughnuts! To Celebrate 67th Anniversary!

Not Real News Free Doughnuts

FILE- This Jan. 22, 2018, file photo shows the Dunkin' Donuts logo on a shop in Mount Lebanon, Pa. Dunkin' Donuts says a story and clickable coupon being shared widely online that offers free boxes of doughnuts to celebrate its anniversary is false. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File)

THE FACTS: Clickable coupon aside, no free pastries are awaiting Dunkin' Donuts customers this week. It's one of many fake giveaways that go viral with offers of free food from prominent national brands like Pizza Hut and Costco. Clicking on the coupon sends users to a three-question survey about the chain and then asks for more personal information. Dunkin' Brands Group Inc. spokeswoman Michelle King says the online offer is not coming from the chain. And it's not their 67th anniversary; this year will be the chain's 68th year in business.


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. Find all AP Fact Checks here:

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