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: Clint Eastwood said he voted against Biden

Facts: A letter attributed to actor and director Clint Eastwood was shared on social media claiming that he voted against Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden. In the letter, some insults allegedly uttered by Clint Eastwood against Biden were shared.

Truth: As Reuters reports, a similar quote was shared in 2013 without mentioning Biden’s name. A spokeswoman for Clint Eastwood debunked the claim saying that the director and actor has not endorsed either Donald Trump or Biden regarding the upcoming presidential elections.

USA

Claim: The Governor of Colorado, Democrat Jared Polis, is planning a COVID-19 shutdown that will prevent in-person voting and therefore potentially limit Republican votes

Facts: Several posts on social media say that the Governor of Colorado, the Democrat Jared Polis, declared that a “very restrictive shutdown” will be part of the new tighter restrictions put into place in Colorado to stop the spread of coronavirus. Social media users denounce the fact that it would shut down voting in person and “suppress the largely-Republican votes who prefer to vote in-person.”

Truth: As reported by Reuters, Colorado is not currently at the ‘stay at home’ restrictions level.

Moreover, a spokesperson for Polis said to Reuters that voting centers remain open and that residents from Colorado will be able to vote for the upcoming elections.

UK

Claim: A movie from 1956 predicted the Covid-19 pandemic

Facts: A video supposedly made in February 1956 was widely shared on social media.

It shows several black and white footages such as a man writing on a typewriter or a map of East-Asia. The voice-over says: “Experts predict that by the year 2020, a new virus will emerge and spread from somewhere in Asia to the rest of the world.”

Truth: The video creator, author and satirist Max Patrick Schlienger, who uses the pseudonym RamsesThePigeon online, declared to AFP: "The intent behind the video was to make fun of the more popular parts of the misinformation that was spreading at the time ...

namely that Covid-19 was a largely harmless virus and the response to it was exaggerated," he said.

UK

Claim: Younger people are more likely to develop so-called “long Covid” after an initial infection with Covid-19, says Matt Hancock, Health Secretary

Facts: On October 22, Health Secretary Matt Hancock declared to the House of Common: “We have two points of evidence; one is the evidence from King’s College London that shows that approximately one in 20 people with coronavirus is likely to have long-term symptoms, but the other evidence implies that in adults under 50, the proportion is more like one in 10.”

Truth: According to FullFact, this claim made by Hancock is based on a study from King’s College London.

As the fact-checking agency reports, the referred analysis published on October 21, actually says the opposite. The paper suggests that people over 70 have around twice the risk of people under 50 to be ill for more than eight weeks, which defines the “long covid”. The figure comparing the one in 10 people under 50 is not relevant since it highlights people with symptoms that lasted more than four weeks, rather than eight and are thus not considered “ill with long covid.”

FRANCE

Claim: Soccer player Paul Pogba has quit France’s national soccer team over president’s remarks on Islam

Facts: Hundreds of posts have been shared on social media saying that soccer player Paul Pogba had quit France's national soccer team following “insults directed at the Prophet” by French president Emmanuel Macron.

This follows the death of Samuel Paty, a French teacher murdered by an Islamist terrorist for showing cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed during a class on free speech.The Arabic sports website 195sports.com and the English tabloid The Sun, shared the information about the French soccer player.

Truth: Paul Pogba debunked the information on his Instagram account by posting a screenshot of The Sun article saying: “I am appalled, angry, shocked and frustrated some 'media' sources use me to make total fake headlines in the sensible subject of French current events and adding my religion and the French National Team to the pot.”

KENYA/LIBERIA

Claim: US announces permanent “e-visas” for Kenya and Liberia

Facts: Posts made on two Facebook pages called “Liberia Embassy in Washington DC” and “Embassy of Kenya Washington DC,” and then massively shared on social media, claim that the US government has announced permanent “e-visas” for Kenya and Liberia.

According to the posts, President Donald Trump's decision comes in the face of the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and aims to facilitate the entry of certain professionals from these two countries into the US.

Truth: According to AFP Fact Check, both pages behind the purported announcements are not official from the respective embassies in Washington. After the claims were massively shared, both embassies published statements on their official websites declaring the announcements as "false" and "fraudulent."

PHILIPPINES

Claim: World Bank and IMF were created by late Filipino dictator Ferdinand Marcos and late Filipino nationalist José Rizal

Facts: Posts shared on Facebook claim that the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) were created by the late Filipino dictator Ferdinand Marcos and late Filipino nationalist José Rizal.

Truth: According to AFP Fact Check, the claim is false. Ferdinand Marcos ruled the Philippines between 1965 and 1986. José Rizal, in his turn, was executed in 1896. His death fueled in the Philippines the fight against Spanish colonial rule. The World Bank and the IMF, however, were created after the Bretton Woods conference in 1944, in the United States, therefore, five decades after Rizal's death and two decades before Marcos was elected president.

SPAIN

Claim: Image shows passport issued to transfer Ramses II’s mummy from Egypt to France

Facts: Posts on Facebook shared the image of an alleged passport issued in 1976 in the name of the mummy of Ramses II. According to the posts, the document was created so that it was possible to transport the remains of the pharaoh from Egypt to France, to carry out restoration works.

Truth: According to the Spanish fact-checking agency Newtral, the remains of Ramses II were in fact transported from Egypt to France in 1976, however, the passport information is false. Through a reverse search on the internet it is possible to note that the shared image of the passport is actually an illustration published by Heritage Daily magazine in March, 2020, to "represent" the documentation that France required from Egypt to approve the mummy's entry in their territory. Below the image published by Heritage Daily there is the following message in red: “An artist’s creation of the passport – Image is for representative purposes.”

LATIN AMERICA

Claim: Video shows how forest fires are caused by governments

Facts: Facebook posts shared a video showing a helicopter setting fire to some stretches of forest.

The caption in the posts claims that the images are proof that forest fires are caused by governments.

Truth: According to information from the fact-checking service of the Peruvian newspaper La República, the images actually show the application of a controlled burning technique, used precisely to combat the occurrence of large forest fires. Through a reverse internet search, AFP Fact Check arrived at the original video, published on August 21, 2020, and contacted the author of the images. The man claimed to be a firefighter and guaranteed that the images show the application of the technique of controlled burning with the use of helicopters, also called "helitorch."

BRAZIL

Claim: China will use only “Swedish vaccine” against Covid-19 in its population

Facts: Facebook posts claim that the Chinese government has negotiated the purchase of doses of the Covid-19 vaccine developed by Anglo-Swedish pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca to be used in its population, instead of opting for the immunizers that are being developed in the country, such as CoronaVac, by Chinese pharmaceutical Sinovac.

Truth: According to information from the Brazilian fact-checking agency Lupa, the claim is false. The rumor spread on social networks may be based on the fact that on August 6, 2020, the Chinese laboratory Shenzhen Kangtai signed an agreement for the production in China of 100 million experimental doses of the vaccine developed by AstraZeneca in collaboration with the University of Oxford. However, according to information from the World Health Organization (WHO), there are at least four Chinese vaccines that are in phase three of clinical trials and have been tested in the country's population, including CoronaVac. Anyway, there is still no vaccine that has been proven effective against Covid-19.

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