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

U.S. Census did not confirm that “millions less voted in the 2020 election than the official results” showed

Facts: Posts shared on Instagram claim that the U.S. Census Bureau reported that millions less people voted in the 2020 election than the official results released last year. Some of the posts link to an article that states: “According to the Census, the recorded number of people voting in 2020 was tallied at 154,628,000.

On the other hand, official results place the number of actual ballots cast slightly north of 158 million. That’s a discrepancy of nearly four million votes.”

Truth: The Census report does indeed show that 154,628,000 people reported to have voted in last year's election, however, the survey is not an official record of everyone who voted in the election. The Census report also shows that 36,404,000 people who participated in the survey were classified as having “no response to voting”, which includes individuals who were not asked if they voted, those who responded “don’t know” or refused to answer.

USA

University of Miami researchers have not found that COVID-19 vaccine affects sperm production

Facts: A post shared on Instagram claims that research from the University of Miami's Miller School of Medicine confirmed that “COVID19 virus can affect sperm production inside the testes.”

Truth: In November 2020, a study published by the University of Miami's Miller School of Medicine in the World Journal of Men's Health showed evidence that COVID-19 can affect the testicles of men infected with the Coronavirus.

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The study, however, does not mention vaccines. In a statement to PolitiFact, Dr. Daniel Nassau, an investigator on the study, said: “I am not sure where they are getting vaccine from this article, but that statement is not true.”

World

“Wedding photos” do not prove Miss Universe 2021 winner is married

Facts: Posts shared on social media claim that the Mexican model Andrea Meza, crowned Miss Universe 2021 on Sunday, May 16, is married.

It is against the rules for Miss Universe contestants to be married. The rumor started to spread after photos of her supposedly getting married in 2019 were found on the internet. One of the images was even shared on the profile of model Jorge Saenz, the alleged fiancé, followed by a declaration of love.

Truth: In a statement on social media after the rumor went viral, Saenz said that he is not married to Andrea, that the images are part of a photo essay to promote tourism in the Mexican region of Chihuahua and that the caption on his publication was a joke between him and Meza. The Instagram profile of the Chihuahua state tourism agency also confirmed that the photos were promotional: “This photo is part of an advertising campaign for weddings in Barrancas Del Cobre.”

Spain

Press posts on rapes, murders and occupations in Ceuta following the arrival of thousands of migrants from Morocco are fake

Facts: Social media and WhatsApp users have shared tweets allegedly published by media outlets such as El País, Vozpópuli and La Ser reporting on rapes, murders and occupations in the Spanish territory of Ceuta following the arrival of thousands of migrants from Morocco earlier this week.

Truth: While the posts attributed to El País and Vozpópuli were made from profiles that mimic the official accounts of the two media outlets, the post attributed to La Ser was doctored. In a statement to Onda Cero, the president of Ceuta, Juan Vivas, said on Tuesday (18) that there was “no damage to persons or property” after the arrival of the Moroccan migrants at the beginning of the week.

Brazil

It is false that Joe Biden donated $235 million to “Hamas terrorists”

Facts: An article shared on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter claims that U.S. President Joe Biden has funded “Hamas terrorists” by donating $235 million to the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.

Truth: According to the Brazilian fact-checking agency Lupa, the claim is false.

The Biden administration announced in April the resumption of financial aid to the Palestinians, interrupted during former President Donald Trump's administration, with a contribution of $235 million. The amount, however, is for humanitarian assistance and economic development programs in the region, having no relation to the Islamist movement Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip since 2007.

Indonesia/Algeria

Photos do not show centuries-old mosque “discovered after a sandstorm” in an Algerian desert

Facts: Posts on Twitter and Facebook share two photos along with the claim that they show a mosque built eight centuries ago and discovered after a sandstorm in a desert in Algeria.

Truth: A reverse image search shows that the first photo, taken by American photographer George Steinmetz, was published on May 10, 2015 on a Facebook page called “The Story of the Berbers.” The second image was taken by French photographer Cyril Preiss on October 30, 2004 and posted on the image-hosting platform PBase. In an interview with AFP, Preiss said: “The photo was taken around an abandoned village near El Oued in Algeria in late 2004.” Also to AFP, Salah Tamer, secretary general of the Elmardjan El Oued association, said the two photos show an abandoned mosque built in 1935.