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.

UNITED STATES

Claim: U.S President Trump retweeted that the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cut the national Covid-19 death toll by 94%

Facts: On Sunday August 30, the U.S President Donald Trump retweeted a post claiming: “This week the CDC quietly updated the COVID number to admit that only 6% of all the 153,504 deaths recorded actually died from COVID. That's 9,210 deaths The other 94% had 2-3 other serious illnesses & the overwhelming majority were of very advanced age,” accompanied with a CDC comorbidity chart.

Truth: The original post was shared by a supporter of QAnon, a conspiracy movement whose theories have been given credence by the US president in media interviews, and by his retweets. It has been deleted by the platform since it violated Twitter’s rules by sharing false information, as AFP Fact Check reports. The U.S President deleted his retweet but the AFP Fact Check found that by searching the term “CDC” for August 30 on Trump Twitter archive, it shows the U.S President retweeted the false information.

Moreover, the head of the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) disclaimed the information by highlighting the fact that the people included in the mentioned deaths were killed by Covid-19 but usually had additional conditions which are also archived. Thus, the 6% of death certificates that had only COVID-19 as a cause could have been incomplete, some details could have been left and do not show any complications of diseases caused by the COVID-19, as AFP Fact Check mentions.

UNITED STATES

Claim: Joe Biden’s wife, Jill Biden, will make all Americans learn Spanish if she becomes the U.S First Lady

Facts: The U.S Democrat candidate for the U.S presidential election has faced many Fake News about him during the past few weeks in regards to the future election. However, his wife, Jill Biden has also been put on the spot.

Several posts shared on social media show an article from a website called “New York Post” but unrelated to the popular news outlet New York Post, nypost.com, as Reuters precises. The title reads: “All Americans Will be Required to Learn Spanish When We Win (VIDEO)” (here). The website, “US Mags Press”, that “uses a bot to fetch trending news and third party websites to post news” as they describe themselves, also used the same headline. The article says that if Joe Biden’s wife becomes the U.S First Lady, she “would require Americans to learn Spanish.” The text is accompanied by a video of Jill Biden.

Truth: As Reuters reports, the video linked with the article comes from an interview on “The View”.

However, during this interview, Jill Biden never mentions anything about the Spanish language and never says anything about this statement. Moreover, the article shared on “US Mags Press” puts the story in their section “fiction and/or conservative fan fiction,” which proves that this claim is fictitious.

UNITED STATES

Claim: Actor Chadwick Boseman died from poisoning

Facts: Several claims have been shared on social media since Chadwick Boseman’s death on August 28, 2020. The most shared one says that the actor well-known for his role as T’Challa in Black Panther died from poisoning. The claim originally comes from the “junk website” Toronto Today, as Snopes describes it. The headline reads: “AUTOPSY: Chadwick Boseman was POISONED, homicide investigation begins.” It adds that Boseman had overcome his cancer but was then killed by poisoning.

It also says that a press conference will be held “in the next 48 hours”, to announce the actor’s death as a homicide.

Truth: As Reuters reports, Boseman died from colon cancer. In 2016, he was diagnosed with stage II colon cancer that raised to stage IV within the next four years. Boseman’s representatives announced his passing at the age of 43 from colon cancer.

UNITED KINDGOM

Claim: A video shows an anti-lockdown rally in the heart of London

Facts: A screenshot of a video has been shared 2,400 times on Facebook, as AFP Fact Check reports, claiming that an anti-lockdown rally took place in London.

The video was shared on August 29, 2020 with a caption that reads: “Anti-Lockdown rally in London today! Anyone else feel the shift? It’s happening! #TheGreatAwakening.” The screenshot shows a road packed with thousands of people.

Truth: As AFP Fact Check reports, this screenshot has been reused and does not show the streets of London but of Minsk, the capital of Belarus. The fact check website did a reverse image search and found that the original video is one shared on a reporter for German newspaper BILD’s twitter on August 23, 2020. The German reporter is Paul Ronzheimer and has published his tweet to show Minsk’s streets, with protestors calling for the end of Alexander Lukashenko’s government.

KENYA

Claim: President of Uganda tried to appeal to young voters by displaying more than 100 pairs of sneakers

Facts: A photo shared on Facebook and Twitter claims to show Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni trying to appeal to young voters with a display of more than 100 pairs of sneakers. "President Museveni buys more than 100 pairs of sporty shoes that he'll be wearing as the Ugandan elections of 2021 approach, in an attempt to look trendy and connect with youthful voters," reads the caption of the posts.

Truth: A reverse image search carried out by AFP Fact Check indicates that the man in the image is actually Wicknell Chivayo, a Zimbabwean businessman who uses social media to show his wealth and extensive collection of shoes. In Chivayo’s profile on Instagram it is possible to find published on April 7, 2020, the same image used to elaborate the rumor about the Ugandan president.

CHINA

Claim: Video shows India's health minister slapping people who don't wear a face mask

Facts: Video shared thousands of times on Facebook, Twitter and Weibo claim to show the Indian Health Minister slapping people who don’t wear a face mask amid the coronavirus pandemic. “India fighting COVID-19: Simple and rough!

Indian health minister directly slapped those who didn't wear masks on the street...,” reads the caption of the posts.

Truth: According to AFP Fact Check, the claim is false. The same video was published on YouTube by the Pakistani TV channel 24 News HD on July 24, 2020. In the video, the presenter says in Urdu language: “I am Sajjad Jani and with me is Faisal Raamay in police getup. Today we will guide people about masks and will see who is wearing a mask and those who are not wearing a mask.”

BRAZIL

Claim: WHO apologizes for the mistake, changes its position and now recommends hydroxychloroquine to treat Covid-19

Facts: Posts shared on Facebook claim that the WHO (World Health Organization) admitted to having mistaken its position regarding the use of hydroxychloroquine – a drug that has been used for decades to prevent and treat malaria and certain autoimmune conditions, including rheumatoid arthritis and lupus – to treat Covid-19, apologized and now recommends the drug.

Truth: According to the Brazilian fact-checking agency Aos Fatos, PAHO (Pan American Health Organization), a WHO representative in Brazil, stated that the organization has not changed its position on the use of hydroxychloroquine nor has it made any apology. Since last July 6, the drug has ceased to be part of researchers led by WHO to combat the new coronavirus, after scientists found that the drug was not having an effect on patients as compared to the control group.

SPAIN

Claim: Image shows letter sent by Messi to Barcelona announcing that he wants to leave the club

Facts: A post that went viral on Twitter and Facebook in the last days shows an alleged image of the letter sent by the Argentine football player Lionel Messi to Barcelona announcing his intention to leave the team.

“By means of this letter, I, Lionel Andres Messi Cuccittini, with the ID [blank], request that the employment benefit contract that I currently occupy in your distinguished club be terminated, based on clause number 24 that allows me to have this power. I appreciate all the opportunities for personal growth and professional preparation that were offered to me during the time I worked. Learnings that allowed me to consolidate my technical and human profile, but for personal reasons [blank] this difficult decision, which I hope will be made in the best way by the management of this club,” reads the document, which displays a copy of Messi's signature.

Truth: In an interview with the Spanish fact-checking agency Newtral, Marcelo Méndez, communication director at Leo Messi Management, says the image, which circulated on social media in posts in Spanish, English, French and Portuguese, is false.

Consulted by Newtral, labor lawyer Enric Bonmatí Guidonet, of Barcelona, ​​says that poor formulation, the absence of an effective date and the presence of the Spanish and Catalonian shields show that it is a forged document.

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