FRANCE

Claim: Arabic has become the second official language in France, says Alain Mondino, a Rassemblement National supporter. 'Le Monde' refutes this claim.

Facts: Alain Mondino, a supporter of the right-wing Rassemblement National, shared on his Twitter page an image of two official texts highlighting ways to avoid the propagation of coronavirus, one in French and one in Arabic. The caption says: “I didn’t know that Arabic has become the second official language in France ?? No one should ignore the law but apparently ignoring French is ok.” His tweet has been shared thousands of times on social media.

Truth: The original picture has not been found but this official document is real. The Arabic version has been shared on the website of the Santé publique France, the French national public health agency.

However, it exists in 24 other languages including Albanian, German, English, Bulgarian, Russian, Serbian and even Tamil or Bengali. Like the official and governmental website describes: “These posters are a tool of prevention destined to health professionals and the larger public.” A 2001 decree acknowledges “France's languages”, meaning languages that have been implemented in France for a long time and that “are not the official language in any other states.” Accordingly, the dialectal Arabic is cited as well as the Berber, the Yiddish or the Romany.

This picture does not prove that Arabic has become the “second official language in France.”

KENYA

Claim: Interpol has released a report on cybercrime in the small town of Juja, on the outskirts of Nairobi, Kenya. 'AFP Fact Check' refutes this claim.

Facts: On May 18, 2020, a story about Interpol labeling the town of Juja as a cybercrime hotspot has been shared on Kenyan television station NTV.

The content was later promoted on Facebook and Twitter with screenshots of the TV story with the caption: “Interpol shines spotlight on Juja as hotbed of cyber crimes.”

Truth: As AFP Fact Check highlights, “Interpol names Juja a ‘global cybercrime hotspot’” was an article published on a website called PostaMate on May 15, 2020, three days before the Kenyan TV story was broadcasted.

However, PostaMate is a satirical website which proves that this claim is wrong. On top of that, Interpol told AFP Fact Check: "We can confirm that we have not released a statement claiming this.” If the Kenyan police arrested two university students in Juja over cybercrime on May 14, 2020, according to AFP Fact Check, the small town cannot be labeled as a “cybercrime hotspot,” as confirmed by Interpol.

WORLD

Claim: The new iOS 13.5 allows Apple to perform contact tracing and tracking of users. 'Reuters' disclaim this theory.

Fact : Some Apple users have been sharing warnings against the company that allegedly “keep tabs on you” and “watch everywhere you go and who you cross paths with” using contact tracing and tracking.

The rumor started with the new updates for Apple’s iOS 13.5 that introduced the “Exposure Notification” application programming interface. This app was co-created with Google and was released in May, 2020. Its aim is to support public health authorities in their efforts to combat COVID-19.

Truth : A spokesperson for Apple told Reuters that the government or tech companies cannot track individuals without consent and added that they would need to download an app from a public health agency to use the Exposure Notifications feature. Moreover, the terms of location tracking are not based on GPS or location data but “random Bluetooth identifiers that indicate proximity” in order to protect users’ identities, as Reuters specifies.

If some online claims say that this new update will notify all contacts that have passed nearby a phone’s owner if they test positive for COVID-19, it is not true. Apple and Google shared that the apps must require users to “consent before sharing a positive test result, and the ‘keys’ associated with their devices, with the public health authority.” For more safety, users will be able to turn off the app “at any time.” The new iOS 13.5 does not allow Apple to activate contact tracing or track its users without their consent.

UNITED KINGDOM

Claim : WHO and the Queen of England announced children will be taken from homes.

According to 'Reuters', this claim is completely false.

Fact : A video shared on YouTube on May 24, 2020 shows video statements from Britain’s Queen Elizabeth and Dr. Michael Ryan of the World Health Organisation (WHO). The video’s caption claims that “WHO and Queen announce children will be taken from homes.”

Truth : This video is misleading and its claim is completely false as Reuters confirms. It shows footage from the WHO virtual press conference on March 30, 2020 and from Britain's Queen Elizabeth’s speech to the U.K. and Commonwealth on April 5, 2020. Several quotes were taken out of context: footage of Dr. Ryan said for instance: “Now we need to go and look in families to find those people who may be sick and remove them and isolate them in a safe and dignified manner.” On the other hand, the Queen’s speech has been cut to keep this sentence: “Today, once again, many will feel a painful sense of separation from their loved ones.

But now, as then, we know, deep down, that it is the right thing to do.” Both of these sentences do not mention that children will be taken away from their homes. When looking at the full transcript of these two speeches, we can affirm that neither the WHO nor Queen Elizabeth made any announcement that children will be taken from their homes.

BRAZIL

Claim: Study with 60,000 people in Spain shows "ineffectiveness of quarantines".

Fact: An article published by a Brazilian media outlet and shared on social media claimed that a study carried out in Spain with more than 60,000 people during the Covid-19 pandemic have shown the ineffectiveness of quarantines or measures of social distancing. The study would have concluded that active workers have a lower incidence of contagion.

Truth: The ENE-COVID serological macro-study, led by the Spanish Health Ministry and the Carlos III Institute of Public Health (ISCII), did not measure the effectiveness of quarantines, adopted in Spain since March. The objective of the study, carried out between April 27 and May 11, was to estimate the percentage of the Spanish population that has had contact with the virus and has developed antibodies. The first preliminary report, released on May 13, shows that approximately 5% of the population in Spain has developed antibodies against Covid-19.

UNITED STATED

Claim: President Donald Trump claimed that mail-in voting is rife with fraud and that California was sending ballots to undocumented immigrants.

Fact: On Tuesday, in a series of tweets, the President of the United States, Donald Trump, has claimed that mail-in voting is "substantially fraudulent" and that the ballots in California would go to “anyone living in the state, no matter who they are or how they got there.” Later that day, during a news conference, Trump repeated his claim and said that "people that aren't citizens, illegals, anybody that walks in California is gonna get a ballot."

Truth: Justin Levitt, a professor at the Loyola Law School, Los Angeles, and an expert in constitutional law and the law of democracy, reviewed U.S. general, primary, special, and municipal elections from 2000 to 2014 and found 31 incidents of voter fraud.

According to him, in an article published on The Washington Post on August 6, 2014, in general, and primary elections alone, more than 1 billion ballots were cast in that period. In an interview with CNN, Richard Hasen, a professor of law and political science at UC Irvine, said that while "absentee ballot fraud happens at relatively higher rates than other kinds of election fraud," that overall rate is still "quite low."

About Trump's claim that California Gov. Gavin Newsom is sending a ballot to every single noncitizen, Newsom’s May 8 executive order provides mail-in ballots only to registered voters: “Each county elections officials shall transmit vote-by-mail ballots for the November 3, 2020 General Election to all voters who are, as of the last day on which vote-by-mail ballots may be transmitted to voters in connection with that election, registered to vote in that election.” Noncitizens are explicitly not permitted to register to vote in federal elections.

Twitter labeled Trump's tweets for containing "potentially misleading information" and added a “Get the facts about mail-in ballots” link below the president’s words. In response, Trump has threatened to regulate or close down social media platforms which “silence conservative voices.”

RUSSIA

Claim: Last week, Alexander Myasnikov, Russia's head of coronavirus information, celebrated Russia's alleged low death rate by calling it a "Russian miracle”.

Also, referring to Covid-19, he added: "It's all exaggerated. It's an acute respiratory disease with minimal mortality".

Fact: Myasnikov is a doctor and a television presenter. In mid-April, after predicting it would be “impossible” for the pandemic to reach Russia, he was appointed Russia's coronavirus information chief. His primary duties include informing the public about possible treatments and prevention methods as well as fighting Fake News surrounding the virus.

Truth: According to Johns Hopkins University’s (JHU) death rate study, Russia is the third most-affected country in the world with 379,051 confirmed cases, after the United States (1.721.926 cases), and Brazil (438,238 cases). However, JHU’s data highlight a massive discrepancy with regard to Russia's death count.

While the U.S. registered 101,621 deaths and Brazil 26,754, Russia seems to have “just” 4,374 Covid-19 fatalities. In the United Kingdom, fourth in the JHU ranking, deaths skyrocket to 37,919.

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