Joe Biden with FB, Twitter and Google against No Vax

Joe Biden with FB, Twitter and Google against No Vax

Joe Biden with FB

The newly elected US President has chosen to adopt a collaborative approach, calling upon the giants of the online world to limit the reach of No Vax campaigns. This is what was officially confirmed to Reuters by a member of the administration. To this end, Joe Biden and his staff are interfacing directly with Facebook, Twitter and Google.

The USA and social networks together to stop antivaccinists

Also in the United States, as well as in other parts of the planet (not even we are immune to the problem), one of the obstacles that health authorities have to face is linked to the circulation of false or altered news regarding the consequences of administration. This causes fears to arise that lead some citizens to choose not to be injected with the vaccine for COVID-19.

The misinformation that causes hesitation about the vaccine is constituting a huge obstacle and in this scope there is no player with a wider reach than social platforms. We are in dialogue with them, they understand the importance of misinformation and disinformation as well as the need to act quickly.

To tell the truth, the battle of platforms like Facebook against anti-vaccinists started well before it manifested the new coronavirus: on these same pages we reported an initiative of the social network put in place in February 2019, a year before the pandemic exploded, to penalize No Vax content by preventing their appearance among those suggested to users.

Source: Reuters



Fact check: Joe Biden did not predict or manipulate the weather that caused the Texas freeze

A post circulating on Facebook claims that President Joe Biden “manipulated” and “controlled” the weather to cause the Texas deep freeze in mid-February 2021 that has left millions without power and at least 21 people dead. This claim is false. The rare winter storm was caused by an arctic air mass.


Reuters Fact Check. REUTERS

The lengthy post can be seen here:  here and begins: “3.5+ million people without power in Texas - JOE BIDEN’S DARK WINTER HAS ARRIVED.” Later it reads, “Joe Biden’s ‘Dark Winter’ statement was not a random thought, it was a foreshadow of what was to come.” “This is warfare, an attack on Texas by altering the Jetstream, seeding the clouds, and ultimately causing the storm that blocked out over 4 million people.”

Reuters coverage on the Texas winter storm can be seen here , here , here .

DARK WINTER

On several occasions in the past, President Biden has used the phrase “dark winter” to refer to the impact of COVID-19 during the cold season, when infectious diseases like influenza, traditionally peak as the bad weather drives people inside ( here , youtu.be/HCXNPIlfYyk?t=82 , here ). 

“We’re about to go into a dark winter, a dark winter, and he [Trump] has no clear plan,” Biden said during the final presidential debate on Oct. 22, 2020 ( youtu.be/yjOEHA_rXnQ?t=21 , here ). At a briefing in which he unveiled his vaccination plan ( here ), days before coming into office, Biden said the United States remained in “a very dark winter,” as infection rates increased and the country’s COVID-19 death toll was nearing 400,000 ( here ).

Biden and health experts ( here ), have used this terminology not to predict the Texas winter storm as the post suggests, but to address an increase in contagion and death toll from COVID-19 over the winter months before vaccines became widely available.

WHY SO COLD

The National Weather Service (NWS) said an Arctic air mass spread southward, well beyond areas accustomed to freezing weather, with winter storm warnings posted for most of the Gulf Coast region, Oklahoma and Missouri ( here ).

As explained by NASA’s Earth Observatory  here   , the cold wind from the Artic, which moved in on Feb. 13, hit Texas particularly hard, leaving southern areas of the state experiencing colder temperatures than parts of Alaska. 

The post clearly states that the storm was caused by “altering” the strong currents of air known as jet streams ( www.weather.gov/jetstream/jet, here ).

It is true that jet streams play a role in changing the weather, but as explained by National Geographic here , the jet streams are always changing depending on the season and other variables. For example, “during winter, jet streams tend to follow the sun’s elevation and move toward the equator”. Hotter temperatures around the world and polar regions do lead to “slower and weaker” jet streams.

Scientists are still discussing whether climate change could be delivering the chill ( here ), but to grant the U.S. president the power to direct these jet streams himself is not plausible. 

CLOUD SEEDING

Cloud seeding is an authentic process in which substances like dry ice and silver iodide are put into clouds.  As explained by the North Carolina Climate Office here , it is used to “enhance precipitation, dissipate fog, modify hurricanes and decrease lightning and hail in thunderstorms.”

Countries, including Indonesia and China, have often used cloud seeding to put out forest fires during the dry season ( here ) and to relieve droughts or clear the air ahead of major international events ( here ). Further reading on cloud seeding can be found letstalkscience.ca/about-us .

There is no evidence cloud seeding caused the freezing temperatures sweeping the United States.

Weather manipulation is often related to the “chemtrails” conspiracy theory ( here ), which alleges “governments or other parties are engaged in a secret programme to add toxic chemicals to the atmosphere from aircraft in a way that forms visible plumes in the sky”. Reuters Fact Check previously addressed the subject,  here .

VERDICT

False. Joe Biden’s “dark winter” was a reference to the impact of COVID-19 during cold winter weather, not a prediction of a winter storm.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our work to fact-check social media posts  here  . 

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