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.


Photo does not show protest in Australia against COVID-19 measures

False claim: Social media users have shared an aerial image of a large crowd in a rural area, along with the claim that the image shows a protest against COVID-19 measures in Canberra, Australia.


  • A reverse image search shows that the image shared on social media was taken by PA photographer Aaron Chown on June 27, 2019.
  • The photo caption, available on the PA website, informs that the image was taken during the traditional Glastonbury music festival in England.


OnlyFans is not recruiting students on college campuses

False claim: Social media users have shared a video that allegedly shows a man recruiting students at Florida International University in Miami for the online subscription platform OnlyFans, known for its adult content.

In the clip, the man appears handing out flyers and telling women passing by that this is an opportunity for “financial freedom.”


  • A reverse image search shows that the video was originally posted on Instagram on February 9, 2022 by digital influencer and comedian BenDaDonnn.
  • In a statement, OnlyFans said it is “not affiliated with this individual and he is not employed by nor does he represent the Company in any way.”


The “great replacement” is a conspiracy theory

False claim: In her first major campaign gathering on Sunday, France’s center-right presidential candidate Valérie Pécresse said that the country was not doomed to the “great replacement”, an expression widely used by the far-right candidate Eric Zemmour.


  • A conspiracy theory created by right-wing French philosopher Renaud Camus in the 2010s, the “great replacement” refers to an alleged plan carried out by a global elite to replace white Christian populations with nonwhite immigrants, especially Muslims.
  • According to data from The National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies (INSEE), approximately 10% of the French population in 2018 was composed of immigrants – 46% of which from Africa. Therefore, the replacement of a white Christian majority by nonwhite immigrants is far from becoming a reality in the country.


UV light does not “predict” COVID-19 antigen test results

False claim: Video shared by social media users in Spain claims that it is possible to “predict” the result of COVID-19 antigen tests just by illuminating them with an ultraviolet light.

The clip suggests that the test results are predefined, and therefore unreliable.


  • In a statement to AFP, the Spanish Ministry of Health reported: “There are numerous chemical compounds that absorb ultraviolet light, such as proteins, mineral salts, some organic compounds, etc., and some of them emit fluorescence that can be observed in the visible spectrum, so depending on the products used by the test manufacturer in the composition of the control and sample strips, they may be visible.”
  • “It also cannot be ruled out that the test has been manipulated in some way, adding, for example, a fluorescent protein spot (fluorochrome, not visible to the naked eye), or a mineral salt containing phosphorus or other minerals, which absorb ultraviolet light and emit a fluorescent signal, obtaining the result we see in the sequence,” the ministry added.


It is false that COVID-19 test patent was filed in 2015

False claim: Social media users in Brazil have shared a video claiming that a COVID-19 test had its patent registered in 2015 – the first cases of the disease caused by the novel Coronavirus, however, were identified only in December 2019.

“I didn't get a Covid vaccine. Then I was researching at night, to see if I made the right decision. Then you type in US20200279585A1 and it shows the patent filed by Rothschild, of the Rothschild family, in 2015. Patent on what? COVID-19 test,” says the author of the video.


  • In a statement to the Brazilian website G1, the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) reported that the year 2015 that appears on patent number US-2020279585-A1 refers to the so-called “priority date,” a term used to indicate the first registration in a sequence of patent applications.
  • Among the applications, however, only patent US-2020279585-A, filed on May 17, 2020 refers to a COVID-19 test.
  • Despite his last name, Richard A. Rothschild, the author of the patent application shown in the video, is unrelated to the Rothschild banking family, a frequent target of conspiracy theorists.


Saudi Arabia has not banned movie theaters again

False claim: Social media users in India have shared posts claiming that the Saudi Arabian government allegedly decided last January to ban movie theaters in the country again.

“Breaking news, Saudi Arabia has decided to impose a permanent ban on cinema halls. Now Saudi will be like it was previously, the blessing of Allah remains upon us,” reads some of the posts.


  • As of February 16, there was no communication from Saudi Arabia's General Entertainment Authority informing about any permanent ban on the operation of movie theaters in the country.
  • To AFP, Vox Cinemas and AMC Cinemas, which operate movie theaters in Saudi Arabia, said there is no ban in place and that they continue to operate normally in the country.
  • The operation of movie theaters in Saudi Arabia has been allowed since late 2017, after a decades-long ban, as part of a series of social reforms in the conservative kingdom, which have included allowing women to drive.