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

Ben & Jerry’s is not discontinuing vanilla ice cream to combat white supremacy

Facts: Posts shared on Facebook claim that Ben & Jerry’s will be discontinuing its vanilla flavored ice cream as part of its efforts to “combat white supremacy.” Some of the posts include a tweet allegedly posted by Ben & Jerry’s announcing the change.

Truth: In a statement to Reuters, Sean Greenwood, public relations director for Ben & Jerry’s, confirmed that the claim shared on social media is false.

The rumor seems to have emerged last year, shortly after the death of George Floyd, when the satirical Medium profile Infinite Quark published the claim in an article along with the fake tweet from the ice cream maker.

USA

Kentucky Derby winner did not turn down White House invitation

Facts: Posts shared on Facebook claim that jockey John Velazquez, who won the 2021 edition of the Kentucky Derby on May 1, turned down an invitation to the White House and said: “If I wanted to see a horse's ass, I would have finished second.”

Truth: Speaking to the Associated Press, Ron Anderson, John Velazquez's agent, denied that the jockey was invited to the White House and said: “This is ridiculous … In a million, zillion years, Johnny would not say that about anything or anyone.” According to Snopes, there is no record of Velazquez making that remark after his victory.

World

UN has not removed Jesus’s birthplace from its heritage list

Facts: Posts on social media share a screenshot of an article whose title says: “UN cultural agency removes birthplace of Jesus from its list of heritage sites.”

Truth: The screenshot shared on social media has been doctored to remove two words from the end of the headline, thus changing its meaning.

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The original headline, which can be seen on UNESCO’s website, reads: “UN cultural agency removes birthplace of Jesus from its list of heritage sites in danger.” Also on UNESCO’s website, it is possible to confirm that the site where Jesus is said to have been born is still included in the overall list of world heritage sites.

Brazil

Deaths by Covid-19 did not increase in Switzerland after suspension of the use of hydroxychloroquine

Facts: In a video shared on WhatsApp groups a woman claims that the number of deaths by Covid-19 increased in Switzerland after the country suspended the use of hydroxychloroquine – a drug that has been used for decades to prevent and treat malaria and certain autoimmune conditions, including rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. “What was happening: they had about a 3% mortality rate so far. And when the use of hydroxychloroquine was totally banned, it increased to 11%,” says the woman in the recording. According to her, Switzerland decided to suspend hydroxychloroquine after a study published in the Lancet magazine pointed out the ineffectiveness of the drug in treating Covid-19, but ended up re-authorizing the drug when the article was later retracted.

Truth: Switzerland suspended the use of hydroxychloroquine in May last year and returned to authorize the purchase of the drug on June 11, 2020. In a statement to the Brazilian fact-checking agency Fato ou Fake, the Federal Office of Public Health of the Swiss Confederation reinforces that the data in the video are incorrect: “Based on our official data, we did not see an increase in the number of deaths in Switzerland during the period mentioned.” Several studies indicate that hydroxychloroquine is ineffective in treating COVID-19. The World Health Organization (WHO) advises in its guidelines that the drug should not be used as a preventive treatment for COVID-19.

Latin America

It is false that vaccines ‘pass on’ Coronavirus

Facts: In a video shared on Facebook, María José Martínez Albarracín, a member of the Covid-19 denialist group Doctors for the Truth of Spain, says that the coronavirus can be passed on by vaccinating people.

“There is an issue that is never talked about, that vaccinated people transmit [the virus] (...) There are some vaccines that transmit more than others (...) Actually, the only one that does not transmit is the healthy one. An unvaccinated patient can transmit. But a vaccinated person can also transmit and sometimes more than a natural patient,” she says in the recording.

Truth: In a statement to the fact-checking service of the Peruvian newspaper La República, Erika Castillo, PhD in Medical Sciences and founder of the Cienciagenerika, said: “Vaccines are not injecting you with an active virus that can infect you, [what they inject] is a harmless part of the virus or is an inactive virus. That is what's in the vaccines so far.

This simulates an infection, but it is not that they are injecting you with the active virus, they are not inducing a real infection”. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) explains that “COVID-19 vaccines help our bodies develop immunity to the virus that causes COVID-19 without us having to get the illness.”

New Zealand

New Zealand did not order public broadcaster to remove anti-government comments on its social media

Facts: Posts shared on Facebook claim that the New Zealand government has ordered public broadcaster Radio New Zealand to remove from its social media profiles all comments critical of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's policies. The posts are followed by a photo of Ardern, a Nazi swastika and the phrase “Third Reich.”

Truth: Speaking to AFP, the New Zealand Prime Minister's office said: “No such instruction was ever made by the government.” Also to AFP, Radio New Zealand said: “There has been no request from the NZ government to remove any comments from our social media pages that criticise government policy.”