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.


Chris Rock did not apologize to Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith after the Oscars

False claim: Following the huge backlash over Will Smith's slap in the face of Chris Rock during the Oscars – after Rock made a joke about Smith's wife, actress Jada Pinkett Smith –, social media users shared the claim that the comedian issued an apology. “As a comedian it can be difficult to understand which lines are to be crossed and which ones aren’t.

Last night I crossed a line that I shouldn’t have and paid the enormous price of my reputation as a renown comedian,” reads part of the statement.


  • According to The Hollywood Reporter editor Rebecca Keegan, Rock's representatives denied that the comedian was the author of the apology circulating on the web. The text is also not published on any of Rock's official social media accounts.
  • While Rock has not officially commented on last Sunday's episode, Will Smith posted on his Instagram profile the following message: “Violence in all of its forms is poisonous and destructive. My behavior at last night’s Academy Awards was unacceptable and inexcusable.”
  • “I would like to publicly apologize to you, Chris. I was out of line and I was wrong. I am embarrassed and my actions were not indicative of the man I want to be. There is no place for violence in a world of love and kindness,” the actor continued.


Swimmer Réka György was not banned by Twitter for criticizing transgender athlete Lia Thomas

False claim: Social media users have shared the claim that Hungarian swimmer Réka György was allegedly banned from Twitter after making a post criticizing Lia Thomas, who became in recent days the first transgender woman to win an NCAA swimming championship.

“My finals spot was stolen by Lia Thomas, who is a biological male. Until we all refuse to compete nothing will change,” György reportedly tweeted.


  • The account @RekaGyorgy_, responsible for posting the message criticizing Lia Thomas, was in fact banned by Twitter. In a statement to Reuters, however, György said that the account did not belong to her. “I don’t have Twitter!” she claimed.
  • Despite not being related to the account that was banned, in a letter to the NCAA, György criticized the association for allowing Lia Thomas “to compete against us, who are biological women.”


Zelenski did not mock Putin in a photo during a summit in Paris

False claim: Social media users in Europe have shared a photo that allegedly shows Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky mocking his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, behind his back.

The caption of the posts reads “where it all began,” in a clear reference to the current conflict between the two countries.


  • A reverse image search shows that the photo of Zelensky was taken on December 19, 2019, during a summit in Paris to discuss the crisis between Ukraine and Russia following Moscow's annexation of Crimea.
  • In the original image, Zelensky appears making the victory sign accompanied only by the meeting's host, French President Emmanuel Macron.
  • The photo shared on social media was digitally manipulated to add an image of Putin, taken during the same summit, and in which the Russian president also appears accompanied only by Macron.


It is false that Kamala Harris laughed at Ukrainian refugees during a press conference

False claim: Social media users in Brazil shared an excerpt from a press conference in which Vice President Kamala Harris appears laughing, along with the claim that she allegedly laughed when asked by a journalist whether the U.S.

would receive refugees from Ukraine.


  • The clip shared on social media was recorded during a press conference in Warsaw on March 10, attended by Harris and Polish President Andrzej Duda.
  • The full video of the press conference, available on CBS's YouTube page, shows reporter Asma Khalid, from NPR, asking Harris if the U.S. was intending to take in Ukrainian refugees, and then questioning the Polish president if he had asked the U.S. to take in more refugees.
  • After the question, the two politicians looked at each other and laughed as they did not know who should answer first.
  • After the Polish president spoke, Harris said, without laughing, that the U.S. is prepared to support Poland and discusses how to help Ukrainian refugees.


Image shares false connection between major disease outbreaks and U.S.

election years

False claim: Social media users in South Africa shared a photo of graffiti that shows a black woman making the following statement in a speech balloon: “Every election year has a disease.” This is followed by the names of seven infectious diseases and the alleged years in which their outbreaks occurred: “SARS-2004, AVIAN-2008, SWINE-2010, MERS-2012, ZIKA-2016, EBOLA-2018, CORONA-2020.” At the bottom of the mural there is a phrase in red that reads: “Controlled by Fear.”


  • The dates shown on the mural match with the U.S. election cycle, where there are elections for president every four years and for Congress every two, always in even years. In South Africa, however, both national and local elections are held every five years.
  • When researching the infectious diseases presented in the graffiti it is possible to see that the recorded outbreaks do not coincide with the dates that are on the mural.
  • SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome), for example, appeared in southern China in November 2002, two years before George W. Bush was elected for its second term in 2004.
  • Outbreaks of avian flu have been recorded frequently around the world since 1959, as have outbreaks of Ebola, discovered in Africa in 1976. The zika virus, first identified in 1952, had its last major outbreak in 2015.

New Zealand

Poster turning away unvaccinated job hopefuls at supermarket is fake

False claim: Social media users in New Zealand have shared an image of a poster at the entrance of a Countdown supermarket store in Tikipunga, Whangarei, informing that the company allegedly does not hire people who have not taken the COVID-19 vaccine.

At the bottom o the poster there is a link to the New Zealand government's official coronavirus website and the slogan “Unite against COVID-19.”


  • In a statement to Reuters, Countdown said that the poster that appears in the photo was not put up by any of its employees, but by “a disgruntled person.”
  • The company also said that the same thing happened in other stores and that their staff is working to remove the posters “whenever and wherever” they are put up.
  • The New Zealand government claims that its website and slogan were misused in the poster and that the piece has nothing to do with its official campaign against COVID-19.