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

Video does not show the execution of a woman in the middle of the street moments after the Taliban seized power in Afghanistan

False claim: Social media posts shared a video of a veiled woman being executed in a public square, followed by the claim that the scene was allegedly recorded in Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan, after the Taliban seized power in the country on August 15.

Truth:

  • A reverse image search shows that the video was published in January 2015 by several international media outlets, such as the British newspaper The Independent, which shared the footage with the following headline: “Al-Qaeda video shows public execution of woman accused of adultery.”
  • According to the article, the video was filmed in the Syrian city of Idlib by a member of the al-Qaeda affiliate Nusra Front.
  • The Taliban regime, which ruled Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001, when it was ousted from power by a U.S.-led military coalition following the September 11 attacks, was marked by the imposition of a radical interpretation of Sharia, the Islamic law, which, among other things, prohibited women from studying and working.

USA

CNN journalist has not been captured and executed by the Taliban in Kabul

Fake claim: Twitter users shared posts allegedly made by CNN and BBC News reporting that a CNN journalist named Bernie Gores was captured and killed by the Taliban after the takeover of Kabul.

Truth:

  • Both accounts that published the claim, @BBCAfghanNews and @CNNAfghan, are fake and have no connection whatsoever with the American and British news networks.
  • After the rumor began to spread on Twitter, both accounts were suspended by the platform.
  • A reverse image search shows that the man depicted in the posts is in fact YouTuber Jordie Jordan.

World

Messi signing with Paris Saint-Germain did not double the club’s Instagram followers

False claim: Posts shared on social media claim that Paris Saint-Germain’s Instagram followers more than doubled in the 24 hours after the French club signed Lionel Messi, going from 19.8 million to 40.2 million.

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Truth:

  • Data from social media monitoring tool CrowdTangle shows that PSG's official Instagram account had gained some 3 million new followers in the 24 hours following the announcement of Messi's signing on August 10, going from 41 million to 44 million.
  • In the 30 days prior to Messi's signing, the number of PSG followers increased by around 9 million.

Spain

Rafael Nadal has not said “no way I'll get vaccinated” as an argument for pulling out of Wimbledon and the Tokyo Olympics

False claim: Posts on Facebook and Twitter share a screenshot of an article that allegedly claims in its subhead that Spanish tennis player Rafael Nadal said “no way I'll get vaccinated” when justifying his decision not to participate in this year's Wimbledon tournament and the Tokyo Olympics.

Truth:

  • To the Spanish fact-checking agency Maldita, Nadal's press office confirmed that the athlete was vaccinated before the Olympics and that the reason for his absence from both competitions was a foot injury.
  • In recent months, on several occasions Nadal declared his support for COVID-19 vaccines, like as in April, when he said: “If they give me the option to get vaccinated, I will gladly accept it.” Nadal also stated on the same occasion that vaccination would be “the only way out of this nightmare we have been suffering for a year.”
  • A search for the article shared on social media shows that the subhead of the text has been doctored to include Nadal’s false statement. The article also does not talk at any point about vaccines.

Latin America

August 2021 earthquake in Haiti did not leave “more than 300.000 dead”

False claim: Posts on Facebook and Twitter claim that the 7.2 magnitude earthquake that struck Haiti on August 14 left “more than 300,000 dead.” The posts are followed by several images allegedly depicting the destruction caused last Saturday.

Truth:

  • According to Haiti's Civil Protection Agency, as of August 17 the official death toll from the earthquake was 1,941 people.
  • Also according to the Haitian authorities, some 10,000 people were injured in the earthquake.
  • A reverse image search shows that many of the images shared on social media as being from last week's earthquake actually show the earthquake that happened in the country on January 12, 2010, which killed more than 200,000 people and left another 300,000 injured.

Pakistan

Image does not show an antique sewing machine owned by one of Prophet Mohammed's wives

False claim: Posts on Facebook and Twitter shared an image of an antique sewing machine followed by the claim that the item allegedly belonged to Aishah, one of Prophet Mohammed's wives.

Truth:

  • According to Encyclopedia Britannica, Aishah was born in 614 AD in Mecca, in the Arabian Peninsula, and died 678.
  • The first sewing machine was patented by Englishman Thomas Saint in 1790, according to the International Sewing Machine Collectors' Society.
  • A reverse image search shows that the image shared in the posts is available on stock photography website Dreamstime, followed by the caption: “Isolated brown antique sewing machine.”