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Fact Check-USA Today headline saying Musk company killed 3,000 monkeys is not real

An image of a fabricated USA Today headline is circulating on social media that claims Neuralink, Elon Musk’s company working on brain-implant technology, has killed 3,000 monkeys.

The altered headline in full reads, “Elon Musk’s Neuralink implants have killed nearly 3000 monkeys since last December, 98% fatality rate” and was purportedly written by Bailey Schulz, a general assignment money reporter at USA Today.

A viral tweet that shared the fabricated headline on Dec. 1 received over 100,600 likes and 8,200 retweets at the time of writing (here).

Instagram users appearing to believe the headline is real have also shared the image (here), (here).

The author of the viral tweet clarified that the headline was not real. “Sorry guys if this ruins the little dumbass Twitter joke but the screenshot above is fake. I thought that had already come to light on Twitter,” the tweet author replied to their original post (here).

Gannett, the media company that owns USA Today, confirmed via email that the headline is fake and never appeared on usatoday.com.

Reuters found no results for such an article when searching on USA Today’s website (here)

Neuralink is under federal investigation for potential animal-welfare violations, as described in a Dec. 6 Reuters exclusive report. According to records reviewed by Reuters and sources close to the company, Neuralink’s work involved the killing of about 1,500 animals, including over 280 sheep, pigs, and monkeys since 2018 (here).

A Reuters factbox about Neuralink can be seen (here).

VERDICT

Altered. A USA Today headline that says Neuralink killed 3,000 monkeys is fabricated. However, Reuters has reported the company is currently facing a federal probe for potential animal-welfare violations.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact-checking work here.

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