Claims 163 million people searched ‘how to hit a woman so no one knows’ are untrue

5 May 2021
What was claimed

‘How to hit a woman so no one knows’ was Googled 163 million times during 2020.

Our verdict

This is false. This is the number of search results, rather than the number of times that the term was searched for—a methodological error acknowledged by the researcher behind the claim.

A screenshot of an article claiming “‘How To Hit A Woman So No One Knows’ Was Googled 163 Million Times During 2020” has been widely shared online. 

One reshare of this headline has been liked more than 200,000 times on Instagram, with others racking up tens of thousands of likes.

But this claim is untrue. The research it is based on is flawed, and the academic who wrote it has publicly acknowledged that her published findings were inaccurate. 

As Snopes reported, the researcher has confirmed that she mistook the number of Google search results for the number of times that users had searched for the phrase. 

Screenshots of an article from US website Blavity appeared to be the most widely-shared, although the original has now been amended with a new headline and correction. 

However, at the time of writing, UK website UNILAD still has a version online with the headline “‘I’m Going To Kill Her When She Gets Home’ Was Googled 178 Million Times Last Year”. This is based on the same flawed research. 

The research was carried out in order to establish the impact of the public health reaction to the Covid-19 pandemic on domestic abuse and suicide. It compared the months of March-August 2019 with March-August 2020, and focused specifically on Google searches in the US.

Full Fact, like Snopes, used Google Trends to look at the relative frequency of the search terms “I’m going to kill her when she gets home” and “how to hit a woman so no one knows” in the US over the past 12 months. 

The first phrase returned a message stating there was too little data to show. 

There was not enough data to show how often the second phrase was searched until the end of April 2021, when the articles based on this research were themselves published and subsequently shared on social media. 

This article is part of our work fact checking potentially false pictures, videos and stories on Facebook. You can read more about this—and find out how to report Facebook content—here. For the purposes of that scheme, we’ve rated this claim as false because the article is based on flawed research, which has been acknowledged by the original author.

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