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

No evidence COVID-19 vaccines are linked to athletes collapsing with heart issues

False claim: Social media users have shared videos with several scenes of athletes collapsing on the field, followed by the claim that COVID-19 vaccines are linked to an increase in sportspeople dying due to heart issues such as myocarditis.

Truth:

  • Among other scenes, the video shows 29-year-old Danish footballer Christian Eriksen who, according to his team director, had not been vaccinated against COVID-19 when he collapsed on the field on June 12, 2021. The video also includes a clip of 22-year-old college basketball player Keyontae Johnson, who collapsed on December 12, 2020, days before the start of COVID-19 vaccination in the US.
  • In a statement to Reuters, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), the British regulator for drugs and vaccines, said: “Myocarditis or pericarditis remains a very rare potential risk with the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, and the events reported are typically mild with individuals usually recovering within a short time with standard treatment and rest. The current evidence does not suggest that sporting exercise is a contributing risk for these very rare events.”
  • Also in a statement, Fifa said it is not aware of a rise in episodes of cardiac arrests and that no cases have been flagged in relation to individuals receiving a COVID vaccine.

USA

Child did not yell an obscenity at Jill Biden

False claim: Social media users have shared a video that allegedly shows a child yelling “shut the f*** up” at first lady Jill Biden as she read a story during an event at the White House.

Truth:

  • A reverse image search shows that in the original version of the video, shared by several U.S. media outlets, no children yelled during Jill Biden's reading.
  • The video shared on social media was digitally manipulated by taking the audio from an unrelated video and playing it over the video of Jill Biden. The original audio comes from a video posted in 2019 on YouTube, in which a child yells at a teacher.

Europe

Poster of a 1963 movie called ‘The Omicron Variant’ is doctored

False claim: Amid news of the new variant of the Coronavirus, named by the WHO as Omicron, Twitter and Facebook users in Europe shared an image of a poster from an alleged 1963 movie called “The Omicron Variant.”

Truth:

  • A reverse image search shows that the image shared on social media is actually a doctored version of an original poster from the 1974 American film “Phase IV.”
  • A search on the IMDB website shows that there is no record of a movie called “The Omicron Variant.”

Brazil

South African minister did not say that Omicron is not a variant

False claim: Posts shared on social media in Brazil claim that South Africa's Health Minister Joe Phaahla has said that Omicron is not a variant of the coronavirus, but an adverse reaction to COVID-19 vaccines.

“South Africa's Health Minister says UK government, Europe and the media are lying about Nu/Omicron super variant,” reads the caption of some of the posts.

Truth:

  • Contrary to what the posts shared on social media claim, there is no record of Joe Phaahla saying that Omicron is not a variant, but a reaction to vaccines.
  • In a press conference on November 26, Phaahla said that the discovery of the variant indicates the need to monitor the virus, but stressed that there is still no evidence that it causes more severe cases of COVID-19 or circumvent the protection provided by vaccines.
  • In response to the announcement of the new variant, countries such as the U.S., the U.K., France, Italy and Germany suspended flights from South Africa and neighbouring nations, prompting criticism from the South African government, which claims that the measure was not guided by scientific evidence and that the country was being unfairly punished.

Argentina

Late President Néstor Kirchner did not die after being shot in the face

False claim: Facebook users in Argentina have shared a message allegedly written by a doctor named Raúl Vizcaíno, in which he claims he was responsible for treating the country's former president Néstor Kirchner on October 27, 2010, the day he died.

Discuss this news on Eunomia

In the post, the alleged doctor claims that Kirchner's face had a gunshot wound.

Truth:

  • The alleged doctor claims in the message that his ID number is 10,083,432, however, a search in Argentina's electoral system shows that this number belongs to a woman named Ester Alicia Czaczkowski, from Wilde, in Buenos Aires Province.
  • Official records indicate that the first doctors who treated Néstor Kirchner on October 27, 2010 were Benito Alen González –a member of the medical staff of the Presidency of Argentina– and Claudio Cirille –a doctor at José Formenti Hospital in El Calafate.
  • In an interview with the Argentinean fact-checking agency Reverso, Cirille, who arrived with the ambulance from José Formenti Hospital at Kirchner's residence, said that the former president didn’t have any sign of violence and that there is no record of any doctor named Raúl Vizcaíno in the area.
  • Néstor Kirchner’s death certificate, signed by doctor Renato Lestard, indicates a cardiorespiratory arrest as the cause of death.

Africa

Posts falsely claim that Voice of America reported U.S.

was sending troops to Ethiopia

False claim: Posts shared by Facebook users in Ethiopia claim that U.S. broadcaster Voice of America allegedly reported that U.S. troops were preparing for deployment to Addis Ababa to assist the country's government in fighting rebels advancing towards the capital.

Truth:

  • In a statement to AFP, Voice of America denied publishing any report saying U.S. troops were gathering for deployment to Addis Ababa.
  • There is no official statement from the U.S. government saying that American soldiers would be sent to Ethiopia.
  • The current Ethiopian civil war broke out in November 2020 when the government sent troops into the northern region of Tigray to topple the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).