AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File via KXAN

Are gas stoves being banned? Are books being censored? Did China’s spy balloon gather information on U.S. citizens? Who bombed Gaza’s Al-Ahli Hospital? And who is George Santos, actually?

The events of 2023 left many unanswered questions. However, it’s not always as simple as real versus fake or true versus false. Conflicting data and subjective data taken out of context also spawn misleading narratives and misinformation.

Here’s a list of some of the most viral misinformation of 2023.

Is Biden banning gas stoves?

Scott Olson/Getty Images

There’s no federal plan to ban gas stoves, as many have claimed. However, some states are banning them, and the Energy Department has discussed limitations on future sales of gas stoves.

Misinformation Watch: Is Joe Biden Coming For Your Gas Stove?

How many school shootings have there been?

Have there been around 30 school shootings in the U.S. in 2023, or over 300?

The ambiguity around the question is the result of different counts that use different criteria. Media have cited this data frequently, sometimes without the proper context.

Fact Check: How Many School Shootings Have Happened in 2023?

How many books have been banned?

Illustration by Emmanuel Lafont via BBC News

One prominent group says thousands of books have been banned from classrooms in recent years, a number news sources often cite. 

The number, however, includes books that have been challenged or temporarily removed – not necessarily permanently banned.

Misinformation Watch: Book Bans in the United States

Who bombed Gaza’s Al-Ahli hospital?

Many news sources were quick to imply that Israel was responsible for the bombing of a hospital in Gaza, after the Hamas-run Health Ministry in Gaza blamed IDF rockets. However, further evidence suggested that an errant rocket fired by Palestinian militants was responsible.

Misinformation Watch: Who Bombed Al-Ahli Hospital in Gaza?

What caused Damar Hamlin’s collapse?

Joshua A. Bickel / AP via WFLA


NFL player Damar Hamlin’s collapse due to cardiac arrest during a game in January reignited a debate about COVID-19 vaccine safety.

Some attributed Hamlin’s collapse to his recent COVID-19 vaccination and concerns about myocarditis. There's no clear evidence that the vaccine caused Hamlin's collapse.

Was the Chinese spy balloon a threat to the U.S.?

When a Chinese spy balloon traversed across the U.S. in late January and early February, the government at first said it was not a “major breach.”

That claim was followed weeks later by media reports suggesting the balloon collected information on U.S. citizens and infrastructure. The government then said later that the balloon didn’t transfer data back to China.

Headline Roundup: Chinese Spy Balloon Gathered Intelligence on US Military Bases

Did climate change cause 2023’s extreme weather events?

Mesa Tribune

Some sources attributed things like the Maui wildfires and heat waves to the effects of human-caused climate change, focusing on data showing heightened climate volatility in recent years. Others pushed back by focusing on historical data showing even stronger heatwaves in the early 1900s, when human pollution was at lower levels.

Get balanced perspectives and more data on climate change here.

Who is George Santos?

The disgraced ex-congressman’s expulsion from office in December capped a scandal-plagued year, which began last December when he admitted to lying about where he went to school and the companies he’d worked for.

Headline Roundup: NY Congressman-Elect George Santos Admits to Lying About Résumé

Did we miss an example? Email us.

Henry A. Brechter is the Editor-in-chief of AllSides. He has a Center bias.

This blog was reviewed by Content Designer and News Editor Joseph Ratliff (Lean Left bias), and Bias Analyst Johnathon Held (Lean Right bias).