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

Chinese teen hacker did not cause Facebook outage

False claim: Posts shared on Facebook and Twitter claim that the global outage that took Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram offline for more than six hours on October 4, 2021 was caused by a Chinese teenage hacker. The posts are followed by an image of a boy who is allegedly the teenage hacker.

Truth:

  • In a statement published on October 4, Facebook's VP of infrastructure, Santosh Janardhan, said that there was no malicious activity behind the company's service outage, but rather “an error of our own making.”
  • A reverse image search shows that the image of the boy shared in the posts was published in a September 28, 2014 report by China's state-run agency Chinese News Service.
  • The report states that 12-year-old Wang Zhengyang became a sensation at the China Internet Security Conference in Beijing as the country's youngest hacker. “He began his journey by hacking into his school's system to avoid spending time on homework,” reads the article.

World

Australian NSW premier did not resign after accepting bribes from Pfizer and AstraZeneca

False claim: Posts shared on Facebook and Instagram claim that former New South Wales premier Gladys Berejiklian was forced to resign after an investigation found that she received 65 million dollars in bribes from AstraZeneca and Pfizer to push through COVID-19 “mandatory vaccinations.”

Truth:

  • Although Berejilkian indeed resigned on October 1, 2021 amid a corruption probe, the case is unrelated to suspicions of bribery from pharmaceutical companies.
  • Berejiklian is under investigation by the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) for having allocated, between 2012 and 2018, at least 5.5 million Australian dollars in grants to community organisations in NSW MP Daryl Maguire’s electorate of Wagga Wagga whilst she was in a personal relationship with him.

USA

Video is not evidence Fauci was plotting for a “new avian flu virus” to enforce universal flu vaccination

False claim: Social media users shared an October 2019 video along with the claim that the clip shows Anthony Fauci plotting with other health experts “a new avian flu virus” to enforce universal flu vaccination.

Truth:

  • The discussion, which took place at the Milken Institute on October 29, 2019, brought together health experts to discuss “the scientific and technological prospects of an effective universal influenza vaccine.”
  • According to experts, a “universal flu vaccine” would be effective against different strains of the flu virus that vary each year.
  • Contrary to what the posts on social media claim, at no point in the discussion is the enforcement of a universal vaccination mentioned by either Fauci or the other experts.

USA

It is false that a Delta plane was forced to make an emergency landing after the pilot died from a COVID-19 vaccination

False claim: Posts shared on social media claim that a Delta Air Lines pilot died mid-flight in the U.S.

due to COVID-19 vaccine complications, forcing the copilot to make an emergency landing.

Truth:

  • In a statement, Delta Air Lines called the claim shared on social media false.
  • The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), on its turn, said it “has found no evidence such an event occurred.”
  • A search on the Aviation Global Incident Map site, which tracks incidents on commercial flights, shows that there has been no emergency landing involving a Delta aircraft in recent weeks.

Italy

Sapienza University of Rome did not offer students and staff the installation of a “sensory microchip”

False claim: Social media users in Italy have shared a screenshot of an alleged statement from Sapienza University of Rome inviting its students and staff to install “sensory microchips capable of monitoring health.” The shared text also states that in order to join the initiative, the person needs to present a so-called “green passport,” a COVID-19 vaccination certificate.

Discuss this news on Eunomia

Truth:

  • In a statement, Sapienza University of Rome denied being the author of the statement circulating on social media, classifying the information about the “sensory microchips” as false.

Latin America

There are no “transhuman” babies from COVID vaccinated mothers

False claim: Social media users in Latin America have shared a video of a newborn baby next to the claim that "strange" children are being born to mothers who have taken the COVID-19 vaccines.

The posts further claim that, according to “an American court,” these babies are “transhumans” whose genes belong to the pharmaceutical company that manufactured the vaccine.

Truth:

  • A reverse image search shows that the video was originally posted on July 23, 2021 by TikTok user larasaadeddine1.
  • In a new post on September 30, larasaadeddine1, who presents herself as the baby's mother, claims she does not know who spread the rumor that her child had been born “genetically modified.” “I don't know who spread this rumor, I didn't say anything about the COVID-19 vaccine in the video or other videos, it's not real, there is nothing related to the vaccine,” she said.
  • On October 7, 2021 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended that the COVID-19 vaccines be given to pregnant women.
  • Contrary to what the posts claim, there is no record that “an American court” has declared that vaccinated people or their children become the property of the lab that developed the vaccine. This claim is also against U.S. law, which prohibits patents on human organisms, fetuses, and embryos.