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

It is fake that image shows photographer crying during Messi’s farewell to Barcelona

False claim: Social media posts shared images of a photographer crying along with the claim that the scene happened last Sunday, August 8, during Lionel Messi's farewell press conference. The Argentinian player cried when announcing he was leaving Barcelona after 21 years with the club.

Truth:

  • A reverse image search shows that one of the images was posted on the official Facebook page of the AFC Asian Cup on January 24, 2019.
  • The photos show Iraqi photographer Mohammed Al-Azzawi crying after his country lost to Qatar in the round of 16 of that year's competition.
  • In an interview with Iraqi broadcaster Al-Iraqiya in February 2019, Al-Azzawi said he became emotional the moment he knew Iraq had lost the game.

USA

Image comparing Neil Armstrong’s space suit and a footprint on the moon does not prove that the moon landing was faked

False claim: Posts shared on Facebook compare a photograph of the spacesuit worn by astronaut Neil Armstrong on the 1969 Apollo 11 mission with a photograph of a footprint left on the moon's surface during the mission.

As the boot’s sole and the footprint do not match, the posts claim that this would be proof that the moon landing was faked.

Truth:

  • Taken by astronomer Phil Plait and published in Slate on July 20, 2015, the first photograph actually shows the original suit worn by Neil Armstrong during the Apollo 11 mission. The item is currently part of the collection of The Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum.
  • The original boots worn by the Apollo 11 astronauts, however, were left on the Moon to compensate for the additional weight brought back by collecting moon rocks.
  • The boots that make up Neil Armstrong's suit at The Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum, therefore, are not the same ones that had been with the astronaut on the Moon.
  • Photos of the Apollo 11 mission released by NASA show that the soles of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin's boots were a match to the footprints on the lunar soil.

USA

Bill Clinton did not apologize for “Stranger Things” experiments

False claim: Video shared on TikTok claims that former President Bill Clinton reportedly apologized in a speech during his time in office for the so-called Montauk Project, a program of pseudo-scientific experimentation allegedly carried out by the U.S.

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government between the 1940s and 1980s and which inspired the Netflix series “Stranger Things.”

Truth:

  • Contrary to what the video claims, Clinton's statement is part of a historic official apology, made in 1997, for the Tuskegee experiment, a study of syphilis in Black men carried out by the U.S. government and now considered to be a shocking example of unethical and racist biomedical research.
  • The Montauk Project is a famous conspiracy theory that claims the U.S. government allegedly conducted a series of secret scientific experiments in Montauk, New York.
  • In 2015, when Netflix first commissioned what would become the series “Stranger Things,” the title of the project was “Montauk.”

Brazil

Israel has not concluded that people who have been infected have more immunity than those vaccinated against COVID-19

False claim: Facebook posts have shared an article claiming that Israeli health officials have stated that being infected with the novel Coronavirus protects seven times more than taking the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.

“According to figures presented by the Israeli Ministry of Health, people who have acquired immunity against the novel coronavirus by natural infection are less likely to be infected in new outbreaks compared to those who have developed immunity through vaccination,” reads the caption of some of the posts.

Truth:

  • In a statement to the Brazilian fact-checking service Projeto Comprova, the Israeli Ministry of Health said that the data available in the country so far do not allow to support or reject the claim that antibodies from natural infection are stronger than those created by the vaccine.
  • Contrary to what the article shared on social media claims, the data presented was not obtained through scientific research, but rather via epidemiological monitoring conducted by the Israeli health authority.
  • Israeli Ministry of Health stated that its data “clearly” show that the vaccination protects against severe cases of COVID-19, and that the recent increase in the number of infections recorded in the country happened due to a decrease in the level of protection of people vaccinated in January and February, which led the agency to recommend a third dose to people over 60.

Hong Kong

Japanese newspaper did not call Olympic champion a “national shame”

False claim: Social media users in Hong Kong have shared an image of an alleged front page of the Japanese newspaper Yukan Fuji that features a headline calling Japanese gymnast and Olympic champion Daiki Hashimoto a “national shame.” “Speechless (Even Japanese newspaper said getting a gold medal like this is a national shame),” reads the caption of some of the posts.

Truth:

  • A reverse image search shows that the front page shared on social media was doctored from a July 29 issue of Yukan Fuji.
  • Instead of criticizing Hashimoto, the original headline talks about the Japanese mixed doubles pair Jun Mizutani and Mima Ito, who defeated China to win Japan's first ever Olympic table tennis gold medal.
  • On July 28, at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, Hashimoto won the gold medal in the individual men's all-around event, edging out China's Xiao Ruoteng.

Africa

It is fake that dozens of Chinese have been arrested for child kidnapping in the Democratic Republic of Congo

False claim: Posts shared on Facebook claim that 73 Chinese nationals have been arrested in Katanga, in southeastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, accused of kidnapping children and cannibalism.

The posts are followed by a photo showing a dozen workers of Asian origin, in work uniforms, crouching in a corridor. In the background, close to a door, a black man appears to be standing guard.

Truth:

  • To AFP, the Chinese embassy in the Democratic Republic of Congo said that the claim shared on social media is “Fake News.”
  • In a press release published on August 2, 2021 the Musonoi Mining Company (Commus), which operates in Lualaba province and belongs to China's Zijin Mining, said that the photo shared on social media shows company employees during an investigation by the Lualaba Public Prosecutor's Office. The company, however, did not specify what this investigation was about.
  • According to the German network Deutsche Welle, the investigation is linked to a complaint that Commus used public security agents to violently remove illegal miners from its lands.
  • The same uniforms that appear in the image shared on social media can be seen in other photos of Commus employees on the internet, including one posted on the Lualaba government website, taken during a visit by the provincial governor to the company in 2018.