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.


Pfizer CEO did not say he wants to reduce world population by half by 2023

False claim: Social media users around the world have shared a video in which Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla allegedly states during an interview that the pharmaceutical company aims to reduce the world's population by 50% by 2023.


  • A reverse image search shows that the video shared on social media is part of an interview given by Bourla last May during the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
  • In the original recording, available on the World Economic Forum's YouTube page, it is possible to hear Bourla saying that among the goals set by Pfizer in 2019 for the next five years, one of them was to “reduce the number of people in the world that cannot afford our medicines by 50 percent.”
  • The video shared on social media omitted the words “that cannot afford our medicines,” changing the meaning of what was actually said by Bourla.


BP oil executive did not blame the Biden administration for high gas prices

False claim: Social media users in the United States have shared a message supposedly written by an executive for the oil company BP named Brice Cromwell, who claims to have 10 years of experience in the industry.

“What everyone needs to understand is that the high gas prices are not because of some conflict overseas — prices were high well before that. The prices are not high because our American supply simply vanished. The prices are high because the people who run our country have decided to import oil from another country instead of using our very own American made product,” the message reads.


  • In a statement to Politifact, Megan Baldino, head of corporate communications for BP America, said that there is no executive at the company named Brice Cromwell and that the text circulating on social media did not come from BP.
  • A social media search shows that the post has been circulating on the web since at least March 8, 2022, initially without including the name Brice Cromwell as the author of the text.
  • In early May, BP CEO Bernard Looney told Reuters that sanctions imposed on Russia following the invasion of Ukraine had removed a large volume of Russian crude from the market, leading to a global increase in the price of the commodity.

United Kingdom

The Platinum Jubilee will not cost each UK household $48,000

False claim: Social media users in the UK have shared a post claiming that the festivities for Queen Elizabeth II's Platinum Jubilee, celebrated between June 2 and 5, 2022, costed each British household £38,000 ($48,000).

“If the estimated £1 billion being spent on the jubilee was divided amongst the 26 million households in the UK, it would mean a windfall for each household of £38,000,” reads the post.


  • Contrary to what the post claims, dividing £1 billion by 26 million households would not give £38,000 per household, but £38.
  • The Twitter user @writetjw, who first posted the £38,000 per household claim, later deleted the tweet and admitted that he got the calculation wrong.
  • In the 2021 Budget, Finance Minister Rishi Sunak announced that the British government would set aside £28 million to fund the Platinum Jubilee celebrations this year.


Amber Heard did not say she would open an OnlyFans account to pay Johnny Depp

False claim: Social media users in Spain have shared a video in which actress Amber Heard apparently says during an interview that she has no idea where she will get the $15 million that the courts ordered her to pay her ex-husband Johnny Depp in a defamation suit.

“Maybe I'll start an OnlyFans account,” the actress allegedly adds in the clip.


  • The video circulating on social media was originally posted by a TikTok user called @pretendtobeanyone.
  • In its bio, the account describes itself as follows: “Try the free app where you can make any celebrity say anything”.
  • The description is followed by a link to an app that allows you to create “realistic lip-sync videos.”
  • A reverse image search shows that the original video was posted on YouTube in August 2013 by the Team Coco channel.
  • In the clip, Amber Heard speaks during an interview with Conan O'Brien about a scene she shares with Liam Hemsworth in the film “Paranoia.”


Bill Gates did not give a blank check to a journalist during a TV interview

False claim: Social media users in Brazil have shared an image of Bill Gates with a gift box in his hands during an appearance on a TV show, followed by the claim that he offered on the occasion a blank check to one of the journalists interviewing him.

According to the posts, Gates allegedly offered the blank check after being asked about the secret of his success. After hearing the journalist say that she would not accept the check, Gates allegedly replied: “The secret of my success is that I don't miss any opportunity like you just missed. If you had that philosophy, you could have become the richest journalist in the world.”


  • A reverse image search shows that the photo is from October 26, 2016, when Bill Gates was interviewed on the ITV’s "This Morning".
  • The original recording, available on the “This Morning” YouTube page, shows Gates receiving a mug with the show's logo as a gift.


It is false that people are selling their toes in Zimbabwe because of extreme poverty

False claim: Social media users in countries such as South Africa, Namibia and Nigeria have shared the claim that people in Zimbabwe are selling their toes for thousands of dollars due to “extreme poverty.” According to the posts, the toes could fetch anywhere from $20,000 to $40,000, “depending on size.”


  • In statements to the press, Kindness Paradza, deputy information minister in Zimbabwe, said that the reports about an alleged black market for toes are false.
  • According to the South African website News24, the rumors had started after a social media user jokingly posted that he had bought a truck after selling his pinky toe.