The world of news is complex - and false stories and images are often widely shared on social media. Blasting News’s editorial team spots the most popular hoaxes and misleading information every week to help you discern truth from falsehood. Here are some of the most shared false claims of this week, of which none are legit.

USA

Claim: Hillary Clinton has been arrested and taken to a cell in Guantanamo Bay

Facts: Facebook users shared articles that claim that former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was arrested and flown to Guantanamo Bay detention camp where she will face a military tribunal. The shared articles claim that Hillary was arrested on March 5, 2021, and that former U.S. President Donald Trump was the one who orchestrated the operation with the military.

Truth: Speaking to Reuters, the U.S. Navy said the rumor circulating on social media was false. Nick Merrill, a spokesperson for Hillary Clinton, told Reuters that the Democrat was not detained. On March 8, 2021, three days after the date on which she was allegedly detained, Hillary Clinton participated in a virtual event promoted by The Washington Post on the occasion of International Women's Day.

USA

Claim: Oprah was wearing an ankle monitor during the Harry and Meghan interview

Facts: Posts shared on social media claim that American TV host Oprah Winfrey was wearing an ankle monitor during her March 7, 2021, interview with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

Truth: According to Snopes, contrary to what the social media posts claim, Oprah was only wearing a long, brown leather boots, and the bump that people pointed out as the ankle monitor was simply a crease in the material when she sat with her legs crossed.

Brazil

Claim: Mortality rate increased in Israel after application of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine

Facts: An article published on the ContraFatos website and shared on Facebook states that the mortality rate for Covid-19 soared in Israel after the country started vaccinating its population with the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines.

According to the article, researchers reportedly said that the Pfizer vaccine causes “mortality hundreds of times higher in young people compared to mortality from Coronavirus without the vaccine.”

Truth: Started in late December, the Israeli vaccination campaign has been touted as a model. According to Our World Data, from the University of Oxford, by March 4, 2021, Israel had already vaccinated more than 40% of its population with two shots of the vaccine.

According to Worldometers, since January 21, 2021, when 101 people died in Israel, the last peak of deaths recorded in a single day, the country has shown a steady drop in the number of deaths, with 17 deaths registered on March 10, 2021.

Spain

Claim: WHO says the end of the pandemic is near, without the need for vaccination

Facts: Posts shared on Facebook claim that the World Health Organization (WHO) regional director for Europe, Henri P. Kluge, said in an interview with a Danish television network that the COVID-19 pandemic will end in a few months and without the need for vaccination.

Truth: In his interview with the Danish network DR, aired on February 21, 2021,

Kluge not only does not declare that the end of the pandemic is near, but he also says that “2021 will be another year of COVID-19, however, more manageable and more predictable.” During the interview, Kluge also said that vaccination is the key to save lives, protect economies and decrease COVID-19 mutations.

Nigeria

Claim: Nigerian government has purchased WhatsApp for $7.3 million

Facts: Posts shared on Facebook claim that the Nigerian government has purchased the instant messaging service WhatsApp for about $7.3 million in order to use the app to spy on its citizens.

Truth: Created in 2009 by two former Yahoo employees, WhatsApp was purchased by Facebook in 2014 for $22 billion. In a statement to AFP, Facebook denied that the Nigerian government has purchased WhatsApp. “All rumours are simply false,” the company told.

New Zealand

Claim: Chinese Communist Party has partnered with Facebook to fact-check posts

Facts: An image shared on Instagram claims that a post about the Tiananmen Square massacre, which took place in Beijing in 1989, was fact-checked by the Chinese government and flagged as false.

“Conclusion: False… There is no evidence that the massacre happened. In fact the soldiers cleared Tiananmen Square without any shooting and all accounts are false propaganda,” reads the fact check notice that would indicate that the Chinese Communist Party is part of Facebook's third-party fact-checking programme.

Truth: Speaking to AFP, Facebook, which bought Instagram in 2012, said the Chinese government is not part of its third-party fact-checking programme. Both Facebook and Instagram are blocked in mainland China.

South Korea

Claim: Swiss medical organization advises people not to take COVID-19 vaccine

Facts: Facebook posts share the image of an alleged campaign by a Swiss medical organization advising the population not to take the COVID-19 vaccine.

Truth: According to AFP, the image shared on social media was doctored from a genuine vaccination campaign poster from the Swiss Federal Office of Public Sanitation (FOPH) with the slogan “I will get vaccinated.” There is no record of a medical organization called the Swiss Federation for Vaccine Protection, as it appears in the fake image that circulates on the web.

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