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.


Video does not show tennis player collapsing at Australian Open after vaccination

False claim: Social media users have shared a video of Slovenian tennis player Dalila Jakupovic collapsing on court during a match, alongside the claim that the clip was allegedly recorded during this year's edition of the Australian Open and shows her suffering from “adverse effects” following COVID-19 vaccination.


  • A reverse image search shows that the video was recorded on January 14, 2020 almost two months before the World Health Organization declared the Coronavirus a pandemic.
  • Sharing the video on its YouTube page, the British newspaper The Guardian reported that Jakupovic was forced to interrupt her qualifying match at the Australian Open after suffering from severe coughing fits.
  • The Guardian also reported that “the poor air quality in Melbourne” at the time, due to “smoke from surrounding bushfires”, forced the postponement of the start of the qualifying rounds.


NASA did not hire 24 theologians to study human reaction to aliens

False claim: Social media users have shared the claim that NASA hired 24 theologians to study how humans would react if the scientific community announced the discovery of alien life.


  • The rumor started to spread online after the British newspaper The Times published an article on December 23, 2021 titled “Heavens above: Nasa enlists priest to prepare for an alien discovery.”
  • The article, however, talks about the Reverend Andrew Davison, a theologian at the University of Cambridge, who participated alongside 23 other theologians in a Nasa-funded programme between 2016 and 2017.
  • In 2015, the space agency provided $1.1 million in funding to the Center for Theological Inquiry (CTI), a non-profit institute in Princeton, to research into how major world religions would react to the news of the discovery of alien life.
  • A NASA spokesperson told Check Your Fact that the space agency “was not involved in the selection of researchers for this study, and individuals who receive grant funding from NASA are not employees, advisors, or spokespersons for the agency.”


Facebook has not banned the Lord’s Prayer

False claim: Rumors shared on social media claim that Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has banned posts of the Lord's Prayer because it goes against the platform's policies.


  • In a statement to Reuters, Facebook owner Meta confirmed posting that the Lord's Prayer does not violate the platform's policies and is therefore still allowed.
  • Facebook, on the other hand, does ban any form of hate speech, defining it “as a direct attack against people – rather than concepts or institutions – on the basis of what we call protected characteristics: race, ethnicity, national origin, disability, religious affiliation, caste, sexual orientation, sex, gender identity and serious disease.”

Latin America/Spain

Video does not show Chile’s president-elect Gabriel Boric drugged in a park

False claim: Social media users in Latin America and Spain have shared a video of Chile's president-elect Gabriel Boric being attacked by a group of people while seated on a bench.

According to the posts, the clip show Boric's supporters attacking the politician after finding him drugged in a park.


  • A reverse image search shows that the video shared on social media was published by Chilean media outlets on December 20, 2019.
  • Reports published on that day claimed that the clip shows then congressman Gabriel Boric being attacked by a group of young people in Parque Forestal, in Santiago, in the context of social demonstrations against the signing of a constitutional agreement.
  • After being attacked, Boric posted the following message on his Twitter account: “May fear never overcome hope. May violence never intimidate conviction. We carry on.”


Video does not show tsunami hitting Tonga after volcanic eruption

False claim: Twitter and Facebook users shared a video that shows a man punching a tree before being swept away by a strong wave, alongside the claim that the clip shows a tsunami hitting the Pacific archipelago of Tonga following the eruption of an undersea volcano on January 15.


  • A reverse image search shows that the video shared on social media was originally posted on YouTube on December 6, 2021, on an account called Membayang TV.
  • According to the video description, the clip shows the “Ombak Bono,” a tidal bore in the Riau province's Kampar river, in Indonesia.
  • The tsunami that hit Tonga generated waves of 15 meters and caused unprecedented destruction in the archipelago.


Kazakhstan protests unrelated to alleged restrictions on unvaccinated

False claim: Facebook and WhatsApp users in Brazil have shared a video that claims that the recent demonstrations in Kazakhstan were sparked by an alleged decision by the country's government to block the bank accounts of citizens who have not taken the COVID-19 vaccine.

According to the clip, protesters reportedly arrested doctors and set fire to vaccination centers.


  • Started on January 2, 2022 the protests in Kazakhstan were motivated by the increase in the price of liquid petroleum gas (LPG) in the country.
  • On January 7, Kazakh President Kassym Jomart Tokayev posted the following message on his official Twitter account: “I instructed the Government to quickly respond to the concerns of the protestors in the Western Kazakhstan and to implement a package of measures to regulate the price of liquefied petroleum gas.”
  • Amid the demonstrations, government buildings were stormed and set on fire. By the January 10, according to Interior Ministry data, 164 people had died in the protests and 8,000 had been arrested.
  • There are no records that vaccination centers have been burned down or that doctors who participate in the country's vaccination campaign have been arrested by protesters.
  • There is also no record of any measure by the Kazakh government targeting the bank accounts of citizens who have not taken the COVID-19 vaccine.