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

It is false that the top 1% pays 90% of income taxes

False claim: After New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez appeared at this year's Met Gala ball wearing a white dress with the phrase "tax the rich" emblazoned in red, social media users called the move hypocritical and claimed that the top 1% of the American population pays 90% of the federal income taxes.

Truth:

  • According to a March 2021 Senate Budget Committee testimony by the Tax Foundation, the top half of the taxpayers – with a gross income of more than $43,614 – was responsible in 2018 for 97% of the federal income taxes.
  • Citing latest figures from the Internal Revenue Service, Tax Foundation also reported that the top 1% – with a gross income of more than $540,009 – accounted for 40% of the federal income taxes paid.

Italy

It's not true that ivermectin blocks Covid

False claim: During the Italian talk show “DiMartedì”, Francesca Donato, Italian member of the European Parliament and member of the far-right party Lega, said that “[Ivermectin] blocks the viral reproduction of Covid.”

Truth:

  • During the show, epidemiologist Stefania Salmaso debunked Donato saying that “nothing has been discovered. On the contrary, the evidence that is coming out is very conflicting.” “The studies that have been done have shown that ivermectin doesn't work [to treat COVID],” Salmaso added.
  • The European Medicines Agency (EMA) advises that ivermectin should not be used for the prevention or treatment of COVID-19 outside randomised clinical trials.

World

Video does not show Christians tied up in plastic bags in Afghanistan

False claim: A video showing people apparently tied up in plastic bags has been shared on social media alongside the claim that the images show Christians being left to die by the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Truth:

  • A reverse image search shows that the video was originally published in May 2021 and shows an anti-government protest in Medellín, Colombia.
  • Colombia registered a series of strikes and demonstrations last May against the government's decision to raise taxes. The harsh repression of the acts by local authorities led to the death of at least 60 people.

Spain

Muslim associations have not asked for the cancellation of Moors and Christians festivities

False claim: Posts shared on Twitter claim that Muslim associations in the Spanish city of Valencia have asked the regional government to suspend the traditional Moors and Christians festival, claiming that the celebration offends the Islamic faith.

Truth:

  • In a statement to AFP, the Valencia regional government said it had not received any request from the Muslim community to cancel the festival.
  • Also to AFP, Mariam Barouni, spokesperson for the Islamic Cultural Center of Valencia (CCIV), said that there is no record that the Muslim community has requested the cancellation of the festival.
  • The Moors and Christians festival celebrates the Christian reconquest of Spain in the 15th century. The parades include dances that symbolize the historical dispute for territory between Christians and Muslims.

Brazil

Video does not show robot identifying vaccination status of people on streets in Singapore

False claim: Social media users shared a video of an autonomous robot in Singapore, along with the claim that the robot is equipped with a facial recognition system capable of identifying people's vaccination status.

Discuss this news on Eunomia

Truth:

  • Part of a Singapore government trial to patrol public areas, the autonomous robot, nicknamed Xavier, uses a camera system to detect and deter poor social behavior, such as flouting of COVID-19 safety measures, smoking in prohibited areas and the improper parking of bicycles.
  • In a statement to the Brazilian website G1, the Singapore government said that Xavier does not use facial recognition to identify people's vaccination status.

Africa

Images do not show Nigerian Army attacking armed groups

False claim: Videos and photos of military operations have been shared on Facebook and Twitter alongside the claim that the images show the Nigerian Army attacking armed groups in the northwestern state of Zamfara.

Truth:

  • One of the shared images, which shows rockets being launched from a military aircraft, originates from a video published by the Brazilian Air Force in 2019 on YouTube.
  • Another image, which shows multiple rockets being launched from trucks, was originally published by the news agency Reuters in March 2020, with the caption: “Missiles are seen in this undated picture released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency.”
  • Armed groups have carried out a series of child kidnappings in northwestern Nigeria since last December.

Latin America

It is false that Israel has decided not to implement 5G technology

False claim: Post shared on Facebook claims that Israel has decided to avoid the 5G network in its territory.

The post's caption reads: “Israel will not have 5G: although Israel has been closely involved with the creation of 5G network technologies, it has decided to avoid it as if it were a plague.”

Truth:

  • According to articles published in the local press, the government of Israel authorized on September 29, 2020 three telecom operators to start using the 5G network in the country.
  • Speaking to The Times of Israel, Eran Bar-Oz, spokesman for Israel's Communications Ministry, said that the companies that won the tender had already deployed more than 200 5G antennas each.
  • Pelephone, one of the telecom companies authorized to provide 5G services in Israel, currently offers on its website three bundles with the new technology.