The world of news is complex – and false stories and visuals are often widely shared on social media. Blasting News’s editorial team spots the most popular hoaxes and misleading information every week to help you discern truth from falsehood. Here are the most shared claims of this week, of which none are legit.


Claim: Photo shows volunteer with swollen face after getting Chinese vaccine against Covid-19

Fact: A picture of a boy with a swollen face circulates on Facebook with the following caption: "Chinese vaccine test causes reaction. A volunteer nurse publishes what he looked like after getting the first shot of the Chinese vaccine."

Truth: The claim is false. The image is actually from October 2016 and shows an allergic reaction suffered by Andrew Seely, a Michigan student who had peanut butter smeared over his face in an alleged hazing incident.

Tests in Brazil with the vaccine developed by Chinese pharmaceutical company Sinovac Biotech began on July 21. Nine thousand health professionals are expected to participate in the trials.


Claim: George Floyd appeared on “Judge Judy” as a teenager after carjacking

Fact: A video shared on Facebook claims that George Floyd, the Minneapolis man killed by police in May 2020, appeared when he was 16 on an episode of the reality courtroom show “Judge Judy” accused of carjacking.

Truth: According to Snopes, the episode of “Judge Judy” featured in the video was aired in 2010. It shows a 17-year-old who had been arrested in Chicago. He is identified as George Floyd IV. The full name of the man who was killed by a police officer in Minneapolis was George Perry Floyd Jr. In addition to that, George Floyd of Michigan died last May at the age of 46, so he was 36 when the aforementioned episode of "Judge Lady" aired.


Claim: Thieves pose as NGO “Clean Hands” to rob people “using drugs”

Fact: Social media users shared an alleged statement from the Spanish National Police warning about a group of thieves posing as employees of an alleged NGO called "Clean Hands" to assault people “using drugs”. According to the statement, the thieves stop people on the street and put sanitizer in their hands.

This gel, according to the text, contains a drug that "makes a person sleep for hours" and, when the victim wakes up, his belongings have already been stolen.

Truth: In a post on its official Twitter account, the Spanish National Police denied the veracity of the statement. "Although they have given it a real appearance, this publication of "Clean Hands" is a hoax," said the police.


Claim: Doctor touts hydroxychloroquine as COVID-19 “cure”

Fact: A video widely shared on social media, including by the President of the United States Donald Trump and singer Madonna, spreads the claim that COVID-19 can be cured with hydroxychloroquine.

In the video, recorded outside the Supreme Court in Washington D.C., Houston-based primary care physician Stella Immanuel says: "This virus has a cure. It is called hydroxychloroquine, zinc, and Zithromax.” "I know you people want to talk about a mask. Hello? You don’t need a mask. There is a cure," she adds.

Truth: The Food and Drug Administration has not approved hydroxychloroquine for the prevention or treatment of COVID-19. “The overwhelming prevailing clinical trials that have looked at the efficacy of hydroxychloroquine have indicated that it is not effective in Coronavirus disease,” said Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. According to The Daily Beast, Stella Immanuel already declared some bizarre things in the past, like alien DNA is currently used in medical treatments, scientists are developing a vaccine to prevent people from being religious and that the government is run in part by “reptilians.”


Claim: Trump did a “speech” full of racist remarks about Africans and Arabs

Fact: According to hundreds of posts shared on Facebook, the President of the United States Donald Trump did a “speech” full of racist remarks about Africans and Arabs.

The posts show Trump’s allegedly full speech, in which the Republican says, among other things, that Africa is “on the verge of collapse.” None of the posts, however, say where or when the speech was delivered or published.

Truth: According to AFP Fact Check, the claim started to be shared in 2017. However, as AFP Fact Check reports, parts of the same speech were posted in 2014, relating the content to the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and shared by email in 2009, claiming to share a speech given by former apartheid president PW Botha in 1985.


Claim: Photo shows Boris Johnson with Ghislaine Maxwell

Fact: A black-and-white image shared hundreds of times on Facebook and Twitter claim it shows UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson with British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell.

The posts were shared in July 2020 as Maxwell, former girlfriend of convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, who killed himself in prison last summer before his own trial, was arrested in the US on multiple charges related to the sexual abuse of young women and girls.

Truth: According to AFP Fact Check, the photo was taken in Oxford Town Hall in 1986 and shows Boris Johnson with his first wife, Allegra Mostyn-Owen.


Claim: US consulate staff in Chengdu 'cheers for China' after Beijing ordered closure

Fact: A photo shared on Facebook, Twitter and Weibo shows a group of people holding banners in front of a boarding gate at an airport. The caption, written in simplified Chinese characters, claims that the image shows staff from the US consulate in Chengdu "cheering for China" after Beijing closed its premises on July 24: “Before leaving, the staff of the US embassy in Chengdu did not burn any documents.

Instead, they raised banners to cheer for Chengdu! Cheer for China! Chinese people have forgotten the sense of propriety, justice, honesty and honour, and should really learn from these American people!”

Truth: According to AFP Fat Check, the claim is false. An article from February 5, 2020, published on the WeChat account of CAAC Inflight Magazine, features the same group of people wearing United Airlines uniforms and holding the same banners, but from a different perspective. The article’s headline reads: “On the last flight before temporarily leaving China, pilots held up banners in the cockpit”. The report also says: “Affected by [China’s] epidemic situation, during the time from February 5 to March 28 (eastbound), United Airlines will suspend flights between US and the city of Beijing, Chengdu, and Shanghai.”


Claim: There is a widespread satanic cult in the centers of power

Facts: An article published on July 10 by the far-right Italian Catholic newspaper La Nuova Bussola Quotidiana brings an interview with former CIA agent and Marine Robert David Steele.

Among other things, during the conversation Steele states that “thousands of children are kidnapped, abused, killed and sacrificed to the devil for power," "we gathered testimonies that talk about the connection between pedophilia and Satanism," and "the phenomenon is beyond police control.”

Truth: The statements are actually from Steele, who is nevertheless a figure known for spreading bizarre conspiracy theories. In 2017, according to The Washington Post, he said that NASA maintains a colony on Mars where children abducted by the American government are sent to and forced to carry out hard labor. Throughout the interview, Steele does not provide any concrete data to sustain his claims about the supposed "widespread satanic cult in the centers of power."