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.

World

Nobel Prize winner did not say that people vaccinated against COVID-19 will die within two years

Facts: Posts shared on Facebook and WhatsApp claim that French virologist and Nobel Prize winner Luc Montagnier said in a recent interview that all people who have received the COVID-19 vaccine will die within two years. “There is no hope and no possible treatment for those who have already been vaccinated.

We must be prepared to incinerate the bodies,” Montagnier reportedly said.

Truth: The posts shared on social media refer to an interview by Montagnier published last May 18 on the anti-immigration RAIR Foundation USA website. In that interview, the doctor, who won the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 2008 -- together with Françoise Barré-Sinoussi and Harald zur Hausen -- for the co-discovery of the HIV, criticized the COVID-19 mass vaccination, saying that it could generate more variants and worsen the pandemic.

However, nowhere in the interview does he state that people who receive the COVID-19 vaccines will die within two years. RAIR Foundation USA has even issued a statement denying that the claim shared on social media was part of Montagnier's original interview.

USA

Life insurance will not be denied to those who receive COVID-19 vaccines

Facts: Posts shared on Instagram claim that life insurance companies are denying payouts to deceased people who had taken the COVID-19 vaccine.

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The caption on one of the posts states that the insurance company's denial is due to the fact that the deceased person had “willingly took an experimental vaccine.”

Truth: In early March, when the rumor started to spread on social media, the American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI) made the following statement: “The fact is that life insurers do not consider whether or not a policyholder has received a COVID vaccine when deciding whether to pay a claim.

Life insurance policy contracts are very clear on how policies work, and what cause, if any, might lead to the denial of a benefit. A vaccine for COVID-19 is not one of them. Policyholders should rest assured that nothing has changed in the claims-paying process as a result of COVID-19 vaccinations.”

USA

Lego is not releasing “genderless bricks”

Facts: Posts shared on Facebook claim that the Danish company Lego is launching a new "genderless" line of its famous building blocks. The posts feature an image of a smooth blue brick and the following caption: “Lego unveils new genderless bricks with no male/female connectors.”

Truth: Both the false claim and the image shared on social media were taken from an article published on May 20 on the satirical website Babylon Bee.

United Kingdom

A decline in COVID-19 cases following anti-lockdown rally does not mean that masks and social distancing are useless

Facts: Posts on Twitter and Instagram claim that a decline in the number of COVID-19 cases in the U.K. in the weeks following an anti-lockdown rally that gathered around 10,000 people in London on April 24 is an evidence that masks, vaccines and social distancing are useless.

Truth: In an interview with Reuters, Dr. Paul McKay, a vaccine research scientist at Imperial College London, said that the impact of 10,000 protesters on a population level would be too small to be noticed. “Over that whole period, thousands of people tested positive each day – adding on a few hundred or even thousands from this small protest would very likely not even be seen on an infection chart unless all the infections were from a specific locality,” he said.

McKay also points out that the protest happened in the midst of mass vaccination in the U.K., which protects hundreds of thousands of people from more severe COVID-19 symptoms.

Portugal

Video does not show Chelsea fans vandalizing in Porto

Facts: Posts on Twitter and Facebook shared a video that shows dozens of Chelsea fans chanting in a square, with tables and chairs thrown around and glasses and bottles scattered on the ground.

Some of the fans are shown throwing chairs and bottles. According to the posts, the scene was recorded in the city of Porto, Portugal, where on May 29 the London team won the 2021 Champions League.

Truth: A reverse image search shows that the video was originally published on January 24, 2016, on Twitter, followed by the caption: “just found this video from Munich, Germany.” The recording was made in May 2012, when Chelsea beat Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena, in Munich, and won its first Champions League.

Brazil

Pharmacies in Italy are not distributing free hydroxychloroquine to fight COVID-19

Facts: Article shared on Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp claim that pharmacies in Italy are distributing free hydroxychloroquine – a drug that has been used for decades to prevent and treat malaria and certain autoimmune conditions, including rheumatoid arthritis and lupus – to COVID-19 patients who are being treated at home.

Truth: The information on social media is false. Since December 2020, the use of hydroxychloroquine has not been indicated by the Italian Medicines Agency (Aifa) for the treatment of COVID-19. The drug, however, was distributed at the beginning of the pandemic in Piedmont, northwestern Italy, until May 29, 2020 when Aifa suspended the authorization to use it for the treatment of Covid-19 outside of clinical trials. Based on dozens of studies conducted since the start of the pandemic, both the WHO and the FDA do not recommend the use of hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine for the treatment or prevention of Covid-19.

South Korea

Photo does not show Stonehenge being built in the 1950s

Facts: A series of black and white photos have been shared on social media alongside the claim that they show Stonehenge, a prehistoric monument in southern England, being built by British military in 1954.

Truth: The images released as proof that the monument was built in the mid-20th century actually show conservation work carried out at the site in the 1950s. Many of the images can be found on the website of English Heritage, the charity that manages much of Britain's historical monuments, buildings and places, including Stonehenge. According to English Heritage, the monument was built in the Neolithic period, around 2,500 BC.