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 showing civilian bodies in Bucha, Ukraine, was not “staged”

False claim: In early April, amid a military offensive to recapture invaded areas on the outskirts of Kiev, Ukrainian authorities accused Russian forces of executing hundreds of civilians during the retreat. In the days that followed, the Ukrainian Defense Ministry posted on its Twitter account a video showing a military convoy passing through a destroyed street in the city of Bucha.

In the images it is possible to see dozens of bodies lying on the sides of the road. The Russian Defense Ministry promptly denied the accusations, alleging that the images were “staged” and even show some bodies moving.


  • In the version published by the Russian authorities, and shared by thousands of users on social media, the video has been slowed down and its quality diminished compared to the video shared by the Ukrainian Defense Ministry.
  • An analysis of the higher quality original footage shows that none of the bodies lying on the ground move.
  • AFP journalists who entered Bucha on April 2 confirmed that they witnessed at least 20 bodies in civilian clothes lying on the streets.
  • Images taken by AFP photographers on April 2 and 3 show in detail some of the bodies that appear in the video shared by the Ukrainian Defense Ministry, including of one of the bodies that Russian authorities claim moved in the video.


No proven link between COVID-19 vaccines and aphasia

False claim: On March 30, the family of Hollywood star Bruce Willis announced that the actor will retire after being diagnosed with aphasia, a neurological disease that affects communication and language.

In light of this, social media users began circulating claims that Willis' diagnosis was linked to the COVID-19 vaccines and that cases of aphasia have increased significantly since the COVID-19 vaccine rollout programs began.


  • In a statement to Reuters, Dr. Fatemeh Geranmayeh, a consultant neurologist at Imperial College London and leader of the Clinical Language and Cognition group, said that aphasia is not a common side effect of COVID-19 vaccines and that there is currently no proven link between the two.
  • Also to Reuters, Jenny Crinion, professor of Cognitive Neuroscience at University College London, said that reported cases of aphasia after vaccination are much smaller and rarer than those reported after people have contracted COVID -19.


Video of anti-Zelensky protester crashing a Ukrainian news broadcast is doctored

False claim: Social media users in Europe have shared a video that allegedly shows an employee of a Ukrainian television network crashing a live news broadcast to protest against the country's president, Volodymyr Zelensky.

In the clip, the protester holds a placard calling for Zelensky to surrender and go back to being an actor.


  • A reverse image search shows that the seven-second video was originally posted on TikTok on March 15 by a user named Olga Stiffler.
  • After the backlash, Stiffler posted the same video on her Telegram account, accompanied by the following caption in Russian: “This is a montage shot on a green screen!!!! I didn't think it looked so real.”
  • In a post on its Facebook page, channel Ukraine 24 said that the images shared on social media were digitally manipulated.

New Zealand

Quote from Jacinda Ardern on Rupert Murdoch never being allowed to start a media company in her country is fabricated

False claim: Social media users have shared the claim that New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern reportedly made a comment critical of media mogul Rupert Murdoch.

“Asked why New Zealand does not suffer from the rage of older white men like in other western Anglo countries, PM Jacinda Adern (sic) replied, ‘Because we’ve never allowed Rupert Murdoch to set up a media outlet here,’” reads the posts.


  • There is no record of the same statement on Ardern's social media accounts or New Zealand government websites.
  • The false quote attributed to Ardern appears to have been inspired by a statement about Murdoch made by David Cormack, former head of policy and communications for the New Zealand Green Party.
  • In an interview with The Guardian in October 2020, Cormack said: “A huge reason that our politics is not so extremely polarised and so far out there is because we no longer have Murdoch-owned press in New Zealand, and it’s never taken a foothold.”


Photo does not show Europeans storming ship heading to Algeria during World War II

False claim: Social media users in Ethiopia shared a black and white photo of an overcrowded ship docked at a port, along with the claim that the image shows Europeans trying to reach Algeria, in North Africa, during World War II.

“So next time you think of closing the borders you might want to check with your grandparents (sic),” reads the captions.


  • A reverse image search shows that the image was taken in August 1991. Other angles of the same episode are available from the Getty Images archive.
  • An article published by the London Review of Books in 2015, using the same image shared in social media posts, reports that the scene was recorded in the port of Durrës, Albania.
  • At the time, amid political and social unrest with the collapse of communism, thousands of Albanians stormed the ship Vlora, which was heading toward Bari in southern Italy.

Latin America

Peru's President Pedro Castillo did not say that “pigeon meat is also nutritious”

False claim: Amid a series of protests in Peru against rising fuel, fertilizer and food prices, social media users in Latin America shared posts claiming that the country's president, Pedro Castillo, have encouraged the population to look for alternatives to chicken, with some stores already experiencing shortages of the product.

“Pigeon meat is also nutritious,” the president allegedly said.


  • A reverse image search shows that the claim circulating on the web was originally published on the Twitter account @Iarepublica_pe.
  • This account, which could easily be confused with the official account of the Peruvian newspaper La República (@larepublica_pe), describes itself as follows in its bio: “Unusual news from Peru and the World [...] Parody account.”
  • Searches for the alleged statement on Pedro Castillo's official Twitter and Facebook accounts, as well as on the accounts of the Peruvian Ministry of the Interior, the Presidency, and the Ministry of Economy and Finance, yield no results.