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.


Article warning that shaking a duvet can trigger a heart attack is doctored

False claim: Social media users have shared a screenshot of an alleged article published by British broadcaster ITV News claiming that scientists have warned that shaking a duvet too vigorously while making the bed can increase the chances of a heart attack. Some posts claim that the news article is a “proof” of an alleged attempt to cover up the side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine.


  • In a statement to Reuters, an ITV News spokesperson said the article shared on social media is false and was doctored to simulate a news report from the broadcaster.
  • A search on the ITV News website and its social media accounts does not find any article with the same information circulating on social media.


It is false that 50% of Ottawa’s police force resigned amid “Freedom Convoy”

False claim: Amid the so-called “Freedom Convoy,” a caravan of truck drivers heading to Canada's capital to protest against health measures taken by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government, in particular the mandatory COVID-19 vaccination to cross the border with the U.S., social media users shared posts claiming that 50% of Ottawa's police force had handed in their resignation.


  • In a statement to Reuters, constable Amy Gagnon, a media relations representative for the Ottawa Police Service, said: “No Ottawa police officers have resigned. All available police officers have been working since Friday February 4th.”
  • Matt Skof, president of the Ottawa Police Association, a union that represents nearly all officers in the Canadian capital, told the Associated Press that there have been no resignations related to the “Freedom Convoy” demonstration.


Image does not show Moroccan boy Rayan rescued alive from well

False claim: Facebook users in Italy shared a photo of a boy covered in dust and crying, alongside the claim that the image shows Moroccan boy Rayan being rescued alive after spending five days trapped in a 32-metre deep well.


  • A reverse image search shows that the photo shared on social media was published by several media outlets in August 2018 in articles about a bombing on the outskirts of Aleppo, Syria.
  • After a mega rescue operation that lasted four days, 5-year-old Rayan Awram was pulled out of the well by rescuers last Saturday (5) and taken to a hospital, where he was declared dead.


CDC has not recorded 12,000 COVID vaccine-related deaths

False claim: Social media users in Brazil have shared posts claiming that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recorded 12,000 COVID-19 vaccine-related deaths.


  • As of February 7, 2022 the CDC had recorded nine deaths related to COVID-19 vaccines. All cases were thrombosis syndrome with thrombocytopenia (TTS), which occurred after a dose of the Janssen vaccine.
  • According to the CDC, as of February 3, 2022 more than 18.2 million doses of the Janssen COVID-19 vaccine have been given in the United States.
  • The posts make a misinterpretation of the data published in the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (Vaers), a public platform in which anyone can report adverse events after vaccination.
  • These reports, however, do not mean that a vaccine necessarily caused a health problem, being subsequently reviewed by doctors at the CDC and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).


Video of people shouting racial slurs was not filmed at Beijing Winter Olympics

False claim: Social media users in China have shared a video of a group of people shouting racial slurs at a Black athlete getting off a bus.

The posts are followed by the claim that the clip shows “Chinese racists” verbally abusing U.S. competitors arriving at the Beijing Winter Olympics, which take place between February 4 and 20.


  • A reverse image search shows that the video was originally posted on January 13, 2022 on Chinese social media platform Weibo.
  • The post says the clip shows fans of Chinese basketball team Liaoning Flying Leopards shouting racial slurs at Guangdong Southern Tigers player Clarence "Sonny" Weems after a match between the two teams during the 2021-2022 Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) regular season.
  • Weems had gotten into a fight with Chinese player Han Dejun during the match, which saw both players ejected.
  • In a post on its official Weibo account on January 14, 2022 the CBA condemned the Guangdong Southern Tigers bus incident.


Video does not show wild cheetahs cuddling forest ranger

False claim: Social media users in Africa shared a video of a man cuddling up with some cheetahs, alongside the claim that the clip shows a forest ranger and wild cheetahs.

“A family of cheetah sleep with the forest guard every night. When the Forest Dept. heard about it, they decided to check the veracity of the claim by installing a CCTV camera. This is what the camera recorded! Just amazing,” reads the caption of some of the posts.


  • A reverse image search shows that the video shared on social media was originally published in early 2019 on a YouTube account called Dolph Volker.
  • Titled “Do Cheetahs Prefer Cold Hard Concrete Or Warm Blankets Pillow & A Friend?”, the video includes a voice-over with information about cheetahs' sleeping habits.
  • According to Volker, who has several videos on his channel interacting with cheetahs, the clip was recorded at the Cheetah Experience, an endangered animal breeding centre in Bloemfontein, South Africa.
  • An article published by the British newspaper Daily Mail shows that Volker is a long-time volunteer at the Cheetah Experience, where cheetahs and other endangered animals are bred in captivity. The clip, therefore, does not show wild cheetahs, but animals already accustomed to close contact with humans.