Canadian protests against vaccine mandates, Covid-19 restrictions and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s liberal government have attracted attention in the US and abroad — sparking a wave of misinformation, including a false claim promoted by podcaster Joe Rogan and on Fox.
Here are the facts:
False claims about the number of trucks
Organizers claimed at the end of January that the convoy had grown to tens of thousands of trucks – even reaching around 50,000. Others repeated this “50,000” figure.
Theo Fleury, a retired hockey star who regularly criticizes Trudeau, said on Fox in late January that “50,000 truck drivers” were going to Ottawa. Rogan, who has been criticized for his show’s role in promoting disinformation about Covid-19, said on the show in late January that the convoy “apparently included an insane amount of people, like 50,000 trucks.” Even bigger numbers, like “80,000” or “more than 130,000lorries, whirled on social media.
facts first† The number of trucks involved in the protest was never close to 50,000; would have taken such a number of trucks hundreds of miles more road space than this protest took up† Canadian journalists estimate the number of trucks to be hundreds at the end of January. Ottawa Police Chief Peter Sloly told reporters on January 31 that it was impossible to give exact numbers on the size of the crowd, but that he had “heard” numbers of as many as 18,000 total protesters – not just truck drivers – who were present in the city at the height of the protest on January 29. source has reported that the number of participating trucks in particular once approached the tens of thousands, let alone “50,000”.
Photos and videos with fake captions
Numerous social media posts place inaccurate captions on photos and videos of events that took place before 2022 — such as truck demonstrations, other protests, even a parade in support of the Special Olympics — to falsely claim that these images were related to the Canadian convoy protest. .
facts first† A video shared on several social media platforms was captioned to claim that South Carolina truck drivers were heading to Ottawa to join the convoy — but it actually showed an August 2021 truck parade in support of the Special Olympics, USA Today reported† A video of Brazilian truck drivers honking their horns circulating on Facebook was from a May 2021 demonstration in support of President Jair Bolsonaro, not a demonstration in solidarity with Canadian truck drivers, as some captions claimed, including USA Today reported† A photo of a massive protest crowd, shared in Twitter posts in both English and Spanish as if it were from Ottawa this year, actually showed a 1991 demonstration in Moscow against the communist government of the Soviet Union, Reuters. reported† And another photo, described in Facebook posts as a group of Amish people riding to support the convoy, is a photo of Old Order Mennonites just going to church, PolitiFact reported†
Read more fact checks for the protests here†