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

Director of photography killed by Alec Baldwin was not preparing a documentary about pedophile rings in Hollywood

False claim: Social media users have shared screenshots of a purported news article claiming that director of photography Halyna Hutchins, who died on October 21, 2021 after being shot by actor Alec Baldwin on the set of a movie, was preparing a documentary about pedophile rings in Hollywood.

Truth:

  • In a statement to the press, Craig Mizrahi, Hutchins' agent, said that she “was not working on, associated with or contacted by any upcoming documentaries” and that her only projects were “traditional narrative films.”
  • The article shared on social media was posted on WorldGreyNews.com, a “Fake News generator” that allows users to make their own headlines and fake news. In its "About" section, the site defines itself as follows: “Purpose of this website is fun. It should be used for joking with your friends. We are not responsible for the content.”
  • The fake article implicitly links Hutchins' death to a famous QAnon conspiracy theory that Hollywood personalities are part of a satanic sect of pedophiles that former President Donald Trump was working to unmask during his term in office.

USA

COP26 luxury electric cars are not going to be recharged using diesel generators

False claim: Articles published on conservative websites and shared on social media claim that the luxury electric vehicles that will be used by authorities during the COP26 global climate summit, which will take place between October 31 and November 12 in Glasgow, Scotland, will be recharged using diesel generators.

Truth:

  • Last September, the British government announced that Jaguar Land Rover will provide 240 electric vehicles to shuttle authorities between the hotels where they will be staying and the conference site.
  • As there are not enough charging stations in the city of Glasgow to top off all the batteries, the conference organizers decided to use generators powered by hydrotreated vegetable oil, which is not a fossil fuel and has much lower emissions than regular diesel.

United Kingdom

Sweden is not abolishing cash in 2022

False claim: Post shared by Facebook users in the U.K.

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claims that the government of Sweden will abolish the use of banknotes and coins in the country from April 23, 2022. “Every payment will be by card or online transfer. Every transaction will be traceable by the State,” the post reads.

Truth:

  • In a statement to the British fact-checking agency Full Fact, the Swedish government said: “Neither the central bank nor the government have any plans to stop the issuance of notes and coins.”

Brazil

It is false that U.K.

government reports suggest that people vaccinated against COVID are developing AIDS

False claim: Posts shared by Facebook and WhatsApp users in Brazil claim that official U.K. government reports suggest that people fully vaccinated against COVID-19 are developing acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, known as AIDS.

Truth:

  • In a statement to the Brazilian fact-checking agency Aos Fatos, Zahraa Vindhani, communications officer at Public Health England (PHE), says that “Covid-19 vaccines do not cause AIDS.” According to her, the false claim, which distorts PHE’s official data, was first published on a website that propagates fake news and conspiracy theories.
  • The false claim was mentioned by Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro in his weekly live stream on social media on October 21. On the following Sunday, Facebook took the video down because it violated the platform's policies.
  • In a note published on its website, the HIV/AIDS Committee of the Brazilian Society of Infectology (SBI) says that “there is no known relationship between any COVID-19 vaccine and the development of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome.” The statement also reinforces that people living with HIV/Aids should take all necessary doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Latin America

Image does not show a “fish rain”

False claim: Social media users in Latin America have shared a photo of hundreds of fish scattered along a road alongside the claim that the image was taken after a “fish rain.” The posts also claim that the image is a proof that “the prophecies of the Bible” are being fulfilled.

Truth:

  • A reverse image search shows that the photo was originally published on March 17, 2015 and shared in a series of press articles about an accident in southern China's Guizhou province involving a truck loaded with 6.8 tonnes of catfish.

China

Video does not show indigenous Australians protesting against compulsory COVID vaccinations

False claim: A video has been shared thousands of times by social media users in China alongside the claim that the clip shows indigenous Australians defending themselves with bows and arrows against compulsory COVID-19 vaccination.

Truth:

  • A reverse image search shows that the video was originally posted on March 29, 2019 on Twitter by a journalist from Latin American television network Telesur. According to the post, the clip shows an indigenous group protesting in front of the São Paulo Mayor's Office.
  • According to media reports published at the time, the demonstrators in front of São Paulo's City Hall were protesting against a proposal to transfer indigenous health services from the federal government to the municipalities.
  • According to the Australian Department of Health, Covid-19 vaccination in the country is only compulsory for certain key workers.