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.


Claim: Trump tweeted about Maradona’s death, confusing him with the pop singer Madonna

Facts: A tweet presumably from Donald Trump’s official account reads: “Very sad to hear about the death of Maradona. A great person. Her music was wonderful. I remember listening to her albums in the early 1980's. Rest In Peace!”

Truth: The tweet has not been shared by Donald Trump’s official account, Reuters reports.

It has been fabricated. No tweet referring to Maradona can be found on Trump’s official Twitter account and no deleted archives were found either, Reuters reports.


Claim: George Soros was arrested for interfering in the US elections

Facts: Posts on social media share an article claiming that billionaire George Soros was arrested and is currently in federal custody in Philadelphia on charges related to electoral interference.

The text, published on the site Your News Wire says it is based on a document supposedly “shared on different sites on the dark web.” The article included an image of the purported indictment against Soros, along with the allegation that the “judge banned the publication of Soros' arrest.”

Truth: Speaking to AFP Fact Check, Laura Silber, spokeswoman for Soros' philanthropic organization Open Society Foundation, said the claim is “totally false.” According to Snopes, the document presented in the article is actually a manipulated version of an actual indictment issued on October 19, 2020, against six Russian hackers accused of cyber attacks “intended to support Russian government efforts to undermine, retaliate against, or otherwise destabilize” various foreign entities.


Claim: A camera with photographs of the Titanic sinking has been discovered in the ocean

Facts: A post shared on social media claims: “A camera discovered deep in the ocean containing dramatic pictures of the sinking Titanic has been found. What must those survivors have felt as they witnessed such a huge and remarkable ship slowly slide into the ice-cold water leaving behind so many loved ones?” The post shows a black and white picture of the boat.

Truth: The picture is not a photograph. It’s a painting made in 1996 by Ken Marschall, an artist who worked on the film “Titanic”, FullFact reports. It was also used as the Life Magazine cover in 1997, when the film was released.


Claim: Voting systems were created in Venezuela at the direction of Hugo Chavez “to make sure he never lost an election”, denounces former Trump’s attorney Sidney Powell

Facts: On Thursday November 19, Donald Trump’s legal team held a press conference sharing allegations against the U.S election results. Trump attorney Sidney Powell said: “The Dominion Voting Systems, the Smartmatic technology software, and the software that goes in other computerized voting systems here as well, not just Dominion, were created in Venezuela at the direction of Hugo Chavez to make sure he never lost an election after one constitutional referendum came out the way he did not want it to come out.”

Truth: Dominion Voting Systems is not related to Venezuela, nor does it have links with Smartmatic, confirmed Eddie Perez, a voting technology expert at the Open Source Election Technology (OSET) Institute, the AP reports.

Moreover, Smartmatic says on its website that it is not associated with governments or political parties of any country, the AP highlights.

On November 22, Trump’s campaign tried to cut ties with attorney Sidney Powell, claiming on Twitter: “Sidney Powell is practicing law on her own. She is not a member of the Trump Legal Team. She is also not a lawyer for the President in his personal capacity,” after sharing false claims.


Claim: Joe Biden had a birthday party without masks

Facts: On November 20, President-elect Joe Biden celebrated his 78th birthday.

Atlanta Mayor, Keisha Lance Bottoms, wished him a happy birthday on Twitter writing: "Wishing our President-Elect @joebiden a VERY Happy Birthday from the great Blue state of Joe’gia!" she wrote. The two politicians are surrounded by a crowd with no one wearing masks. Conservative online news websites - such as Conservative Today and Daily Patriot Post - pointed to the video saying: "You’re not allowed to have Thanksgiving with a few of your family members, but Joe Biden and his hundreds of pals can all get together, mask-free, and party like it’s 1999."

Truth: Keisha Lance Bottoms replied to the rumors on Twitter by writing: “Pre-Covid! This was in the @TPStudios White House following the @DNC @msnbc debate on 11/20/19.”


Claim: Africa's richest man offers help on Facebook for young people affected by Covid-19

Facts: A post by a Facebook page called Dangote Foundation, and shared thousands of times, claims that the billionaire Aliko Dangote, the richest man in Africa, is giving money, food and other assistance to 10,000 young people who lost loved ones to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Truth: Created on October 26, 2020, the Dangote Foundation Facebook page that made the post is not official. The foundation's official page was created in 2017. According to AFP Fact Check, Aliko Dangote has indeed made large donations to help Nigerians recover from the effects of Covid-19, but he or his foundation are not posting any offers on Facebook.

South Korea

Claim: Germany closes 66 units of the Confucius Institute, linked to the Chinese government

Facts: Posts shared on Facebook claim that the German government closed 66 units of the Confucius Institute, linked to the Chinese Ministry of Education. The posts include a screenshot of a Korean news article that includes a photo of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the phrase: "Did Merkel finally wake up?"

Truth: According to AFP Fact Check, the article quoted in the posts was published on YouTube on November 20, 2020, by the NTD Korea channel.

The video states that "by the end of 2020, 63 universities, two governments, and one educational body in the Western states will end their cooperation with Confucius Institutes." However, the report doesn't say that all “63 universities, two governments, and one educational body” are in Germany. In addition to that, the Confucius Institute claims on its official website to have only 19 units in Germany, not 66, as stated in Facebook publications.


Claim: The United Arab Emirates stopped issuing visas for Pakistanis and other nationals of Muslim countries because of their refusal to recognize the state of Israel

Facts: A TikTok post was shared on November 21st and seen thousands of times according to the AFP.

The post says that: “Pakistan does not recognize Israel so Dubai stopped visas for Pakistan” and “as soon as Islamic laws end in Dubai, visas for Muslim countries are closed. Calamity will visit them quickly if God wills,” translates the AFP from Urdu to English. It was also shared on Facebook and YouTube.

Truth: Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that the UAE’s new visa restrictions are “believed to be related to the second wave of COVID-19,” the AFP reports.

On the other hand, Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson, shared in a statement published on November 18th: “We have learnt that the UAE has temporarily suspended the issuance of new visit visas until further announcement for 12 countries, including Pakistan.

The measure is believed to be related to the second wave of COVID-19. We are seeking official confirmation from the concerned UAE authorities in this regard.”


Claim: Leaders of the Black Lives Matter movement is funded by the Chinese government

Facts: Posts on social media share a screenshot of an article published on the Jornal da Cidade Online website with the following title: "Leaders and co-founder of Black Lives Matter has a project "funded" by China." The information in the text, that Alicia Garza would be indirectly funded by the Chinese Communist Party through an NGO linked to the government of the Asian country, was originally published on a conservative American blog called The Daily Signal.

Truth: According to information from The New York Times, the article published in The Daily Signal confused two nonprofit organizations with the same name, making incorrect claims about links between Garza's organization and the Chinese government. Both are called Chinese Progressive Association. One is based in Boston, the other in San Francisco. The Boston organization does have links to the Chinese government. However, the Chinese Progressive Association that has teamed up with Garza's organization is the one based in San Francisco, which has no relation to the one in Boston or to the Chinese government.

Latin America

Claim: Venezuelan vice president announces coronavirus “pause”

Facts: Video shared on Twitter and Instagram shows Venezuela's vice president, Delcy Rodríguez, reportedly giving statements about a "deal" to "pause" the new coronavirus for a period of one week.

"According to what the president decreed on Sunday, you can go out on the street, you won't have a contagion problem or anything because they signed an agreement with this virus,” the video quotes.

Truth: According to information from the fact-checking service of the Peruvian newspaper La República, Delcy Rodríguez's statement was digitally manipulated from a video originally published on November 13th, 2020. On the occasion, after a meeting with representatives of the Russian government, the Venezuelan vice president spoke about the negotiation of an alliance for the purchase and production of doses of the Sputnik-V vaccine against Covid-19.