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.


Biden's climate plan does not require Americans to cut red meat consumption by 90%

Facts: Twitter and Facebook posts claim that the climate plan announced by U.S. President Joe Biden during the Leaders Summit on Climate, which took place on April 22, 2021 will require Americans to reduce their consumption of red meat by 90% by 2030. The claim was also shared by Fox News and by some Republican congressmen.

Truth: The figure shared on social media comes from a study published by researchers from the University of Michigan and Tulane University in April 2020, therefore, seven months before Biden was elected president. The study focused on the impact of different dietary changes for Americans on greenhouse gas emissions. Speaking to AFP, Gregory Keoleian and Martin Heller, two of the study's authors, said: “To our knowledge, there is no connection between our study and Joe Biden’s climate plan.” “There is no effort designed to limit people’s intake of beef coming out of President Biden’s White House or USDA,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack during a call with reporters on April 26.

During his speech at the summit, Biden announced the U.S. goal of halving its greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.


Chicago Police Department did not tweet in support of Derek Chauvin

Facts: Posts shared on Twitter and Facebook show an alleged screenshot of a Chicago Police Department tweet expressing support for former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who was convicted on April 21 of murder and manslaughter in the death of George Floyd during an arrest in 2020.

The alleged tweet features a photo of Chauvin during the trial and the phrase “We are all Derek Chauvin.”

Truth: Chicago Police’s official Twitter account shared the fake tweet together with the following message: “Not only does this synthetic and manipulated image, which is antithetical to our values, reflect the very worst of disinformation on social media, it also puts our officers & communities at risk by widening the gap in trust that we are working so hard to build, bridge & restore.”


Video does not show victims of COVID-19 dying on the streets in India

Facts: Video shared thousands of times on Facebook, Twitter and Weibo claims to show Covid-19 victims feeling sick and dying on the streets in India.

The country is currently going through a devastating second wave of Coronavirus, registering more than 300,000 new COVID-19 cases a day.

Truth: A reverse image search on the internet shows that the video was originally recorded on May 7, 2020 and shows victims of a toxic gas leak at a chemical plant in the Indian city of Visakhapatnam. The incident killed 12 people and left hundreds hospitalised.


Pictures of Greta Thunberg after gaining weight are fake

Facts: Posts shared on Twitter and Facebook show two alleged photos of Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg looking obese.

Truth: A reverse image search on the internet shows that both images shared on social media have been doctored. The first image was originally taken by Getty Images photographer Jack Taylor on April 21, 2019, during an Extinction Rebellion rally in London.

The second image originally belongs to a video recorded on October 6, 2018, during a Rise for Climate demonstration in Brussels.


Stanford University study did not indicate that face masks are ineffective against Covid-19

Facts: Posts shared on Facebook claim that a Stanford University study concluded that “face masks are ineffective to block transmission of COVID-19 and actually can cause health deterioration and premature death.”

Truth: The article highlighted in the posts was published by Baruch Vainshelboim in November 2020 in Medical Hypotheses, which defines itself as “a forum for ideas in medicine and related biomedical sciences” with “theoretical papers that foster the diversity and debate.” The article, which features a mix of studies and meta-analysis, has not been peer-reviewed.

In a post in its official website, Stanford Medicine states: “The author, Baruch Vainshelboim, had no affiliation with the VA Palo Alto Health System or Stanford at the time of publication and has not had any affiliation since 2016, when his one-year term as a visiting scholar on matters unrelated to this paper ended.” The institution also states that it strongly supports the use of face masks to control the spread of COVID-19.


Social media posts falsely claim all crew members of missing Indonesian submarine were found alive

Facts: Posts shared on Facebook and Twitter claim that all crew members of an Indonesian navy submarine that disappeared on April 21, 2021 were found alive a day later.

Truth: The Indonesian navy announced on April 25 that rescuers had located parts of the missing submarine more than 800 meters below the sea surface. Speaking to the press, Indonesia’s military chief Marshal Hadi Tjahjanto confirmed on the same day that “all 53 personnel onboard have passed.”