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 false that a supermarket used a fence to separate vaccinated and unvaccinated people

False claim: Social media users have shared images of a supermarket aisle separated by a metal and plastic fence, along with the claim that it would serve to separate the flow of vaccinated and unvaccinated customers inside the store. Some of the posts claim that the images were taken in Germany, and some others in Austria.

Truth:

  • Contrary to what is circulating on social media, the images were recorded at a branch of the German Kaufland supermarket chain located in a shopping mall in Romania.
  • The fence that appears in the images serves to separate the supermarket – considered an essential shop – from the rest of the shopping mall – considered non-essential.
  • Since last October, Romania allows only holders of the so-called “green pass” to have access to non-essential shops. The document is issued to those who have been vaccinated, have a PCR or antigen test done within the last 48 hours, or have recovered from COVID-19 within the last 180 days.
  • Those without the document can only access essential shops, such as supermarkets and pharmacies.

World

Switzerland has not approved an assisted suicide pod

False claim: Social media users have shared information that Swiss health authorities reportedly approved an assisted suicide pod.

Truth:

  • The information that Swiss health authorities approved the pod began circulating on the web after a December 6 article from Swissinfo carried the following headline: “Sarco suicide capsule 'passes legal review' in Switzerland.”
  • The quoted words in the headline, however, referred to a comment from Philip Nitschke, creator of the capsule, about his company’s internal legal review.
  • On December 8, Swissinfo issued an apology and changed the headline of the article to: “Sarco suicide capsule hopes to enter Switzerland.”

USA

Anthony Fauci did not say he wants Americans to get 4 COVID-19 shots each year

False claim: Social media users have shared a screenshot of an article claiming that Dr.

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Anthony Fauci has reportedly said he wants Americans to get four COVID-19 vaccine shots every year.

Truth:

  • The article shared on social media, which quotes an alleged anonymous source, was published on a site called Real Raw News. The website’s “About Us” page features a disclaimer saying it contains “humor, parody and satire.”
  • There is no record of Fauci saying that he wants the American population to get four doses of COVID-19 vaccine per year. Fauci's only recent statement regarding vaccines was made on November 23, when he said that a majority of Americans who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 should get a booster.

United Kingdom

Boris Johnson’s mother did not call him “an idiot with no common sense”

False claim: Post shared on Facebook claims that Charlotte Johnson Wahl, the late mother of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, reportedly said her son is “an idiot with no common sense” and that she hoped “he never goes into politics.”

Truth:

  • Although the image that illustrates the post actually shows Charlotte Johnson Wahl – who died in September – alongside Boris Johnson, there is no record she ever said the quotes circulating on social media.
  • A similar version of the same quotes has circulated on social media in 2019, attributed to Mary Anne Trump, the late mother of former President Donald Trump, which was also debunked at the time.

China

Video does not show an actual Belt and Road train from China

False claim: Social media users in China have shared a video alongside the claim that the clip shows a train with more than 100 carriages going from China to Europe as part of China's trillion-dollar infrastructure project Belt and Road Initiative.

Truth:

  • A reverse image search shows that the same video was published on September 21, 2021 on a YouTube channel called Daffa Railfans ID, which posts digital train simulations using the game “Trainz Railroad Simulator 2019.”
  • China’s Belt and Road Initiative involves a massive infrastructure push to link China to several regions in the world.

Africa

Uganda’s Entebbe International Airport was not renamed China International

False claim: Facebook users in Africa shared an image of the facade of Uganda’s Entebbe International Airport with an alleged sign that reads: “Welcome to China EBB International Airport.”

Truth:

  • A reverse image search shows that the photo shared on social media was doctored. In the original image, taken by photographer Sumy Sadurni and published on CNN's website in March 2020, the sign reads: “Welcome to Entebbe International Airport”.
  • In a post on its official Twitter account, the Uganda Civil Aviation Authority (UCAA) claimed that the image circulating on social media is “fake.” In a statement, UCAA also claimed: “Government cannot give away a national asset like an international airport … It has not happened and is not going to happen.”
  • In 2017 Uganda received a $207 million loan from China’s Export-Import Bank to expand Entebbe airport. The false claim circulating on social media comes after reports in the local press that the airport would be taken over by China after the Ugandan government defaulted on the loan agreement, which is denied by the local authorities.