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: Joe Biden was wearing a wire and an earpiece during the first presidential debate

Facts: Several social media posts shared online thousands of times as Reuters and AFP Fact Check report, claimed that the democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden was wearing an earpiece to receive instructions from his team during the first presidential debate.

Truth: The Team Biden spokesman, Andrew Bates, refuted the information in an email to AFP. The presumed wire and earpiece are actually Biden's rosary that he wears to honor his late son, Beau Biden and a crease in his shirt, as Reuters and AFP Fact check reports.

USA

Claim: Joe Biden was given presidential debate questions in advance by moderator

Facts: A rumor saying that Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden has received the presidential debate questions in advance has been shared thousands of times online, as Reuters reports. The rumor was emphasized by an interview with conservative author and conspiracy theorist Dr Jerome Corsi on the radio station KXEL, where he said: “The information I’ve just gotten, and I think it’s always been accurate, is that Joe Biden has been given the questions from Fox’s Chris Wallace and he’s being prepared on the exact questions he’s gonna be asked.”

Truth: As Reuters says, Corsi shared no evidence to support his declaration.

On another hand, Wallace and a Fox News spokesperson refuted the claim.

USA

Claim: Hillary Clinton referred to African Americans as “super predator” during her presidential campaign in 2016

Facts: An ad that was used by Trump’s digital campaign called “super-predator” in 2016 showed a video clip of Clinton referring to African Americans.

In the video she says : “They are often the kinds of kids that are called super predators – no conscience, no empathy. We can talk about why they ended up that way, but first, we have to bring them to heel.”

Truth: As The Guardian recently reported, this video was from 1996. Clinton later apologized for saying these words in 2016.

The words were re-used by Trump during the presidential campaign to create attack ads on social media. The Guardian reports that during the 2016 U.S. presidential election campaign, Donald Trump may have “actively seeking to deter 3.5 million black Americans in the battleground states from voting by deliberately targeting them with negative Hillary Clinton ads on Facebook.”

Pakistan

Claim: Former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif met the Israeli ambassador to “sell out” Pakistan's nuclear secrets in exchange for moving his business to Israel

Facts: A photo that has been shared more than 400 times on social media according to AFP Fact Check shows two men presumed to be former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and the Israeli ambassador.

Nawaz Sharif is said to be meeting the Israeli ambassador to “sell out” nuclear secrets in exchange for moving his business to Israel.

Truth: As AFP Facts Check reports, this image has been doctored from a picture showing Sharif meeting the former German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle in June 2013. The Israeli flag has been added on top of the German one to make the claim look more real.

UNITED KINGDOM

Claim: UK universities lockdown was part of plan to use sterilizing vaccine on students

Facts: Posts shared on Facebook say British universities were forced into lockdown as part of a plan to use sterilizing vaccines on students.

The caption in one of the posts says: “Pls share the hell out of this to all Parents of young uni students imprisoned in their dorms! The ploy will be to lock them in over the winter until the vaxx is out, at which point they will be punch drunk with depression, isolation, brainwashed and easy prey for the Planned Parenthood vaccination (ie sterilization).”

Truth: According to Reuters, lockdowns occurred in some British universities to control local outbreaks of the coronavirus, such as in the cities of Manchester and Glasgow. Also according to Reuters, no Covid-19 vaccine is associated with Planned Parenthood or designed to sterilize people.

ISRAEL/USA

Claim: Video shows child trafficking rescue operation in Israel during coronavirus lockdown

Facts: Video shared thousands of times on Facebook and Twitter claim to show Israeli soldiers saving children after three weeks of lockdown due to the coronavirus and suggesting that the pandemic could be a cover for child trafficking.

Truth: In an interview with Reuters, Samuel Katz, who has published more than 20 books and 100 articles on security and military operations in the Middle East, said the woman who appears in the images taking people out of the water tank is not wearing an Israeli Defense Forces uniform, but a Kurdish kit. He further claims that, unlike the Israeli army, she carries an AK-47. Also according to Reuters, local media Rudaw and Basnews reported that the video shows Kurdish officials capturing women and children suspected of being linked to Islamic State who were trying to escape the Syrian Al-Hol refugee camp.

BRAZIL

Claim: Photo shows Pope Francis smoking pot with former Bolivian President Evo Morales

Facts: Image shared thousands of times on Twitter and Facebook accounts claims to show Pope Francis smoking marijuana while being watched by former Bolivian President Evo Morales.

The caption of some of the publications says: “The great Pope, look at him smoking pot with Evo Morales.”

Truth: According to the Brazilian fact-checking agency Aos Fatos, the image was digitally manipulated using two different pictures. The first, by Pope Francis, was taken in December 2013 by AFP photographer Vicenzo Pinto and shows the pontiff sending a kiss to the crowd in St. Peter's Square. The second, by Evo Morales, was taken in January 2013 by AP photographer Juan Karita and shows the then Bolivian president holding a coca leaf.

PORTUGAL

Claim: Netflix CEO arrested for possession of child pornography

Facts: Posts shared on Facebook claim that Netflix co-founder and co-CEO Reed Hastings "faces 11 charges" after being detained for "possession of child pornographic material."

Truth: According to information from the fact-checking service of the Portuguese website Observador, there is no record of Reed Hastings' arrest or charges against him for possession of child pornography.

The rumor was initially spread on the Toronto Today website, in English, retrieving a story from Utah and changing the suspect's name to that of Netflix's co-founder and co-CEO.

SPAIN

Claim: Pope Francis asks European women to reproduce with Muslim immigrants to combat low birth rate

Facts: Posts shared on Facebook claim that Pope Francis said, in a 2016 interview with the French Catholic newspaper La Croix, that European women should reproduce with Muslim immigrants to combat the low birth rate in Europe.

Truth: According to information from the Spanish fact-checking agency Maldita, this statement is false. The pope did in fact grant an interview to the newspaper La Croix in 2016, in which he spoke about the need for integration of immigrants arriving in Europe and said: "this integration is even more necessary today that Europe suffers from a serious problem of negative birth rates." The Pontiff, however, at no time says that relations should be between European women and Muslim immigrants.

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