The world of news is complex - and false stories and visuals are often widely shared on social media. Blasting News’ 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.

USA

Claim: A historical picture shows Black doctors treating a KKK member

Facts: Social media users have been sharing a presumed historical picture of Black doctors treating a KKK member.

Truth: As Reuters reports, this picture was created for an advertisement in Large Magazine, an out of print Australian magazine. It showed a series of pictures named “For people who think bigger than they are” and has been recognized with advertising awards in 2014.

USA

Claim: Antifa members have been arrested for setting fires in Oregon

Facts: Rumors have spread online alleging that 7 Antifa members set fires in Oregon and caused devastating wildfires.

The post also says that they have been arrested.

Truth: As BBC, Snopes, Reuters and AFP Fact Check report, the Oregon wildfires were not set by Antifa members. The Medford Police Department confirmed to Reuters that this allegation was not true. They also confirmed it through a Facebook post saying: “This is a made up graphic and story. We did not arrest this person for arson, nor anyone affiliated with Antifa or ‘Proud Boys’ as we’ve heard throughout the day. Also, no confirmed gatherings of Antifa which has also been reported.” FBI Portland also debunked this claim on their Twitter page : “Reports that extremists are setting wildfires in Oregon are untrue.

Help us stop the spread of misinformation by only sharing information from trusted, official sources.”

USA

Claim: Bill Gates is responsible for COVID-19

Facts: A photo has been widely shared on Facebook and Twitter showing a picture of an unidentified woman holding a poster with the face of Bill Gates, Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist, that reads: “When you try to kill everyone with a plandemic but accidentally cause a mass awakening”.

Truth: As Reuters reports, this claim is false. The pandemic has not been planned as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) explained. According to the CDC, the source of COVID-19 comes presumably from a large seafood and live animal market in Wuhan, China. COVID-19 is likely to have been spread from an animal to a human person like MERS and SARS, says Reuters.

Therefore, there is no proof that Bill Gates would be behind this pandemic nor that the virus was purposely created by someone.

UK

Claim: 48,000 illegal immigrants are being housed in luxury hotels each night in the U.K.

Facts: Posts shared on social media claim that 6,000 UK veterans are sleeping rough in the streets while 48,000 illegal immigrants are being housed in “3/4/5 Star Hotels” in the U.K.

Truth: As Reuters reports, illegal immigrants are not lawfully allowed in the country but asylum seekers are. They are provided housing while their asylum application is being processed. The number of 48,000 cited in the claim refers to the number of asylum seekers that were under new accommodation contracts as of March 2020, as reported by the National Audit Office.

As Reuters shared from the National Audit Office, 1,000 asylum seekers out of these 48,000 are living in hotels each night. The number of 6,000 UK veterans sleeping rough in the streets is “unsubstantiated”, says Reuters that confirmed the data with the Royal British Legion, a charity for serving and former members of the armed forces. The Royal British Legion admitted that there is no reliable source which counts the number of homeless persons in the UK who have a history of service in the Armed Forces.

FRANCE

Claim: The umbilical cord should not be cut until one hour after birth

Facts: According to the French newspaper Le Monde, a claim has been shared thousands of times on social media by French users saying: “The umbilical cord should not be cut before an hour after birth.” The claim says its source is attributed to a“ former doctor.” Two reasons are put forward to justify this idea: the first one is that the umbilical cord is still used after birth to provide oxygen and nutrients to the newborn baby and the second one is that it could harm “the baby’s natural immunity.”

Truth: As Le Monde reports, the World Health Organization (WHO) has recommended since 2014 to cut the umbilical cord after one to three minutes “for all births.” The WHO adds that it is needed to keep blood circulating between the placenta and the baby during this time to “improve the iron balance and the infant for up to six months after birth.” Waiting an hour to cut the umbilical cord could increase the risks for the mother and the baby with postpartum hemorrhages, the first cause of maternal mortality (16%) and the most preventable (80%), according to the Haute Autorité de Santé (High Authority of Health), as Le Monde reports.

INDIA

Claim: Video shows the “intact” face of late Iraqi President Saddam Hussein 12 years after his death

Facts: A video shared thousands of times on Facebook and Twitter claims to show the “intact” face of the late Iraqi President Saddam Hussein during an exhumation that took place 12 years after his death.

Truth: According to AFP Fact Check, the claim is false. In a Google search it is possible to find an extended version of the video, published on YouTube on January 6, 2007, with the title “Saddam Hussein Funeral and Burial Ceremony.”

SRI LANKA

Claim: WHO ranked Sri Lanka the world's second best military force for emergency deployments

Facts: Posts shared thousands of times on Facebook claim that the World Health Organization (WHO) ranked the Sri Lankan Army as the second best in the world for emergency deployments.

Truth: In a statement sent to AFP Fact Check, the WHO said that the organization “has not put out any such ranking.” Also to AFP, the Sri Lanka Army refuted the claim circulating on social media.

BRAZIL/PORTUGAL

Claim: Tests for Covid-19 were purchased by countries in 2017

Facts: Posts circulating on Facebook and on WhatsApp groups claim that the international trade database World Integrated Trade Solutions (WITS) has recorded purchases of Covid-19 detection tests made in 2017 by different countries. “The biggest fraud of the century! Governments around the world already knew, in 2018, that Covid-19 was going to be launched, and they ordered millions of tests a year in advance,” reads the caption of the posts.

Truth: In a statement to the Brazilian radio network CBN, the World Bank, responsible together with other organizations for WITS, said that the claim distorts information present in the online database. According to the entity, there was confusion because in the last month of April the classification of some reagents used in tests was changed in the database. Products that had been purchased in the past and would serve to detect the new coronavirus started to be labelled as “test kits for Covid-19.” After the misinterpretation, on September 7, 2020, WITS reclassified the products as “medical test kits.”

Contrary to what the claim suggests, the coronavirus was only identified by the medical-scientific community in December last year, and its origin, according to WHO, is not the result of laboratory manipulation.

PORTUGAL

Claim: Portuguese health agency says coronavirus does not spread if the person is sitting

Facts: Facebook posts shared an information leaflet allegedly created by the Directorate-General of Health (DGS), an organ linked to the Ministry of Health in Portugal, which claims that the new coronavirus does not spread if the person is sitting.

Truth: To deny the allegation circulating on social media, DGS retweeted in its official account a post from the Association of Digital Volunteers in Emergency Situations that reads: “We don't know who takes the opportunity to falsify DGS messages. If you see this image being shared, report it: its content is false and did not originate from that entity.”

LATIN AMERICA

Claim: President of Belarus says IMF tried to bribe him to impose measures against Covid-19

Facts: Posts on Facebook claim that Belarus President, Aleksandr Lukashenko,

allegedly said that the IMF offered him a millionaire bribe to impose measures against the Covid-19 pandemic.

Truth: According to the fact-checking service of the Peruvian newspaper La República, the allegation is false. IMF spokesman Gerry Rice said during a press conference last September 10, 2020, that what actually happened is that the entity blocked a $940 million loan to Belarus, requested by the country last March, due to the lack of measures to face the pandemic “according to WHO recommendations.”

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