Claim: WHO concluded that asymptomatic patients do not transmit Covid-19

Fact: Maria Van Kerkhove, the World Health Organization's technical lead for coronavirus response and head of the emerging diseases and zoonoses unit, said during a media briefing in Geneva on Monday (8): "From the data we have, it still seems to be rare that an asymptomatic person actually transmits onward to a secondary individual.” After this statement, the misinterpretation that asymptomatic patients do not transmit the new coronavirus began to circulate on social media.

Truth: On Tuesday, during a social media Q&A, Van Kerkhove said: “I used the phrase ‘very rare’ and I think that it’s a misunderstanding to state the asymptomatic transmission globally is very rare.

What I was referring to was a subset of studies. I was also referring to some data that isn’t published.” "We do know that some people who are asymptomatic, or some people who don't have symptoms, can transmit the virus on. So what we need to better understand is how many of the people in the population don't have symptoms and separately how many of those individuals go on to transmit to others," she concluded. During the same Q&A session, Dr Michael Ryan, director of the WHO's health emergencies programme, also said he was "absolutely convinced" asymptomatic transmission was occurring, and that the question is how much.


Claim: LEGO stopped the sell of police and White House themed toys following the death of George Floyd

Fact: The US president Donald Trump’s campaign manager, Brad Pascale, shared a post on Twitter saying that the LEGO group was “removing playsets featuring police, firefighters and emergency vehicles.

Even ditching an adult White House kit.”

Truth: A LEGO’s spokesperson explained that the toy company had just paused digital marketing regarding the nationwide protests against police violence and George Floyd’s death. As Slopes reports, the spokesperson wrote: “There are incorrect reports saying we’ve removed some LEGO sets from sale.

To be clear, that is not the case and those reports are false. Our intention was to temporarily pause digital advertising in response to events in the US. These sets were available last week and will always be available to our fans. (...) Given the tragic events in the US over the past 10 days, we paused digital marketing of sets with content that could be perceived insensitive if promoted during this time.”


Claim: Child was killed in fire caused by anti-fascist group in the United States

Fact: On May 30, the second day of protests over the murder of George Floyd by a police officer, there was a fire in a residential building in the city of Richmond.

After this episode, rumors started to circulate on social media in Brazil. The claim was that the fire was caused by an anti-fascist group and that a child died.

Truth: Richmond’s Police and Fire Departments gave differing versions of the events. Richmond Fire Lt. Christopher Armstrong said that demonstrators did not set fire to the house. According to him, a car fire spread to the house and only affected the exterior of the building. On the other hand, Richmond Police Chief Will Smith stated during a press conference that protesters “intentionally set a fire to an occupied building”. Both, however, agree that no one died in the fire.


Claim: Buffalo protester Martin Gugino is an “antifa provocateur” who was trying to “black out” police equipment

Fact: During a June 4 protest in Buffalo, New York, Martin Gugino, a 75-year-old man, was hospitalized after being pushed by police.

On June 9, president Donald Trump tweeted: “Buffalo protester shoved by Police could be an ANTIFA provocateur. 75 year old Martin Gugino was pushed away after appearing to scan police communications in order to black out the equipment. @OANN I watched, he fell harder than was pushed. Was aiming scanner. Could be a set up?”. The claim appeared to have first gained traction from a widely shared conservative blog post published on 6 June. After that, the story was shared by the conservative outlet One America News Network (OANN), which cited as their source an article from the website Conservative Treehouse (CTH), and ended up on the president's social media profiles.

Truth: Gugino has been an activist for decades through his work with People United for Sustainable Housing Buffalo and The Western New York Peace Center.

None of these organizations can credibly be considered a part of the purported “antifa” movement, which isn’t actually an organization at all, but is instead a decentralized movement that brings together far-left anti-fascists. According to RNS, Tom Casey, a local Buffalo coordinator for the Catholic peace movement Pax Christi, said that Gugino was opinionated, but always respectful. “I have never heard him use a vile or angry word against anybody and I spent a lot of time talking to him,” he said. According to Gugino’s attorney, Kelly Zarcone, “no one from law enforcement has even suggested anything otherwise, so we are at a loss to understand why the President of the United States would make such dark, dangerous, and untrue accusations about him.”

About the claim that he was trying to "scan police communications in order to black out the equipment", footage shows Gugino approaching police lines holding up what appears to be a mobile phone.

Despite some apps claiming to be able to listen into police, they wouldn't allow somebody to interfere with a police device or to "black out police equipment”. According to what Adam Scott Wandt, an assistant professor of public policy at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, said to, the object in Gugino’s hand looks nothing like a radio frequency jammer, and, even if it were, “there is no reason he would need to be next to or up close to the officer” to operate one. Besides that, Buffalo police say their dispatch channels are not encrypted, and there are websites that broadcast police calls.


Claim: A pregnant wild elephant in Kerala Forest was killed by two Muslims men

Fact: In the past week, Amar Prasad Reddy, who identified himself as media advisor to a Kerala’s minister of state from the health and family welfare ministry, tweeted claiming two Muslims were arrested after killing a pregnant elephant.

In some countries, it was reported the elephant died after eating an explosive-stuffed pineapple.“One person was arrested today. There are more accused in the case and efforts are on to nab them”, Kerala Forest Minister K Raju told reporters on Friday. The name of the arrested is P. Wilson, who works as a rubber tapper, as told by The NewsMinute. However, hours before the information went public, tweets containing two Muslim names and filled with anti-Muslim hate began circulating on Twitter.

Truth: At 4.55 pm on Thursday, Amar Prasad Reddy tweeted: “Amzath Ali and Thamim Shaikh were arrested for the elephant killing case in Kerala. I demand the @CMOKerala – account referred to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his office – to do the transparent investigation without mercy based on religion, caste or creed.”.

The tweet got over 7.9K retweets and 12.1K likes. His claim generated several tweets anti-Muslim. On Thursday both the government and the opposition in the state had condemned the hate campaign that was built using the outrage over the elephant’s death.


Claim: President Magufuli banned face masks in public places

Facts: Several posts shared on social media claim that the Tanzanian president had declared that wearing face masks would spread fear and worry foreign visitors.

A tweet supposedly written by the president was used to prove this claim as well as a dated and signed press statement from his hometown, Chato.

Truth: According to the BBC, the tweet was proven to be fake and the press statement to be fabricated. The BBC adds that President Magufuli was in Dodoma at the time and not Chato, as said in the press statement. Moreover, the president’s spokesperson has called on people to disregard the claim. The Tanzanian government is asking its citizens to wear face masks and to practice social distancing.


Claim: Drivers are allowed to “plow through” protesters

Facts: A screenshot of a post originally from the question/answer website Quora was widely shared on social media saying that : “All being said, if the protestors at any time start banging on your windows, threatening you and trying to enter your vehicle, you can by all means hit the gas and plow through them.” The captions were insinuating that this practice would not be “illegal”.

Truth: The screenshot is showing a text taken from Quora and was taken out of context since it has been cut. The whole text is more detailed and longer and starts by saying that a driver must be at very low speed to give the protesters the chance to clear the way. Moreover, this original post is false, as Reuters specifies, since the driver could face homicide charges if he deliberately runs over a protestor (or anyone walking on the street). If a scenario like this happens, the driver would have to prove to the jury that they acted because there was any other way to protect themselves from death or serious harm.


Claim: The Royal Coat of Arms has gone missing from the gates of Buckingham Palace and there is “strange activities” going on at Queen Elizabeth’s residence

Facts: Several posts have been shared on social media showing a video of the Royal Coat of Arms missing from the gate of Buckingham Palace.

The video has been viewed more than half a million times, as Reuters reports. In the video, a voice is saying that other unusual activities have been spotted from outside the gate of Queen Elizabeth’s residence such as the windows being “boarded up” and the royal guards being replaced by Gurkhas.

Truth: The crest has not gone missing, it was damaged in October 2019 and is being restored, the Palace confirmed to Reuters. Moreover, a spokesperson for the Palace said that the windows have been covered with a protective film to save the interior fabric of the building from “ultraviolet light damage during reservicing work”. The spokesperson also told Reuters that “it was routine for service personnel from other units to guard the royal residences.”


Claim: Zohra Shah, the 8-year-old kid killed in Pakistan, is the child in the pictures shared on social media

Fact: In the past week, an eight-year-old child maid was killed by her employers for releasing their parrots from a cage.

The case spread on social media and several photos and illustrations associated with the story circulated with requests of justice. However, those pictures are wrong.

Truth: One of the pictures commonly used to show Zohra Shah actually represents Bramsh Baloch, injured on May 26, 2020, in Pakistan. The image can be easily found searching Twitter with the hashtag #JusticeForBramsh, as the Italian website reported.

Besides the photos, an illustration which shows a girl with closed eyes locked in a birdcage spread on social media. However, it doesn’t represent Zohra. This image was produced by Elisa Macdonald, who had published it on her Facebook page on March 27 with the following description: “Posting a past painting each day during the Covid-19 lockdown in South Africa ....

Day 1: ‘Girl in a Gilded Cage’ Be safe”.