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.


Claim: Biden is giving undocumented immigrants long-term motel stays and bus vouchers

Facts: Posts shared on Facebook claim that the U.S. President Joe Biden is giving undocumented immigrants free six-month motels stays and $1,100 of Greyhound bus vouchers.

Truth: Tae Johnson, acting director of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), said on March 20, 2021, that the agency had signed an $86.9 million short-term contract to provide temporary shelter for families placed in proceedings for removal from the country.

Speaking to AFP, an ICE spokesperson said that “under the contract, shelter is intended to be short term, and generally less than 72 hours.” Also to AFP, Greyhound informed that the company “has not provided any vouchers to the government.”


Claim: Bill Gates purchased messaging app Telegram

Facts: Posts shared on Facebook and Instagram claim that billionaire and philanthropist Bill Gates purchased messaging app Telegram. Some of the posts show a screenshot of an alleged Fox News headline reporting the purchase.

Truth: Speaking to Reuters, Telegram’s press team told the app “remains fully owned by Pavel Durov.” Also to Reuters, a spokesperson for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation informed that the billionaire “has no financial relation with Telegram.” As for the alleged Fox News headline, a reverse image search on the internet shows that the screenshot has been doctored to include the false claim.


Claim: Former Brazilian president Lula da Silva stole from presidential palace gold cutlery set given by Queen Elizabeth II

Facts: Posts shared on Facebook claim that the former Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva stole from the presidential palace, when he left power in 2010, a gold cutlery set that Queen Elizabeth II had given to general Artur da Costa e Silva, president during Brazil's dictatorship.

The posts are followed by a photo of the general with the British monarch and another of a golden cutlery set.

Truth: When visiting the Brazilian presidential palace in November 1968, Queen Elizabeth II gave president Costa e Silva “an oval silver cup,” according to a report from the newspaper O Estado de S. Paulo. As for the second image shared in the posts, a reverse search on the internet shows that it was originally published in February 2013 on auctioneer Mozart Melo's website and shows a Korean gold-plated cutlery set.


Claim: Video shows the sons of the Three Tenors singing

Facts: Posts on Facebook shared a video of three young men singing followed by the caption: “They are the children of the three best tenors: Plácido Domingo, José Carreras and Luciano Pavarotti.

The genes….”

Truth: Contrary to what the posts claim, the video is actually from the Italian trio Il Volo, formed by Gianluca Ginoble, Ignazio Boschetto and Piero Barone. None of the three is directly related to The Three Tenors. The same video shared on social media can be found on Il Volo's official YouTube account, published on May 31, 2012.


Claim: Over 1,000 trafficked children have been rescued from Ever Given ship

Facts: Posts shared on Facebook claim that over 1,000 children have been rescued from Ever Given, the container ship that was stranded for six days in the Suez Canal last March. According to the posts, the vessel was carrying weapons of mass destruction and trafficked children.

Truth: There is no record in the international media of any operation that found children or weapons of mass destruction aboard the Ever Given. The Fake News was originally published on April 1, 2021 by the Before It's News website, which has had other articles debunked by fact-checking agencies.


Claim: Only one politician died from Covid-19

Facts: Posts shared on Facebook claim that “not a single politician in the world” died of Covid-19, except for John Magufuli, president of Tanzania, a famous pandemic-denier.

Truth: Contrary to what the posts claim, at least seven serving and former politicians worldwide have died of Covid-19, including former French President Valery Giscard d'Estaing, former Swiss president Flavio Cotti and Burundi's former head of state Pierre Buyoya. Tanzanian authorities said Magufuli died on March 17, 2021, victim of a heart condition. Opponents, however, say the politician contracted the Coronavirus shortly before his death.