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.


Picture of Ghislaine Maxwell and the judge who signed the search warrant for Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate is doctored

False claim: Social media users around the world have shared a picture that allegedly shows Florida Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart, who signed off on the warrant authorizing the search of Trump's Mar-a-Lago home, accompanied by former British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell, sentenced last June to 20 years in prison for helping the late billionaire financier Jeffrey Epstein sexually abuse teenagers.


  • A reverse image search shows that the original picture was used in 2021 by the U.S. Department of Justice as evidence during Maxwell’s trial.
  • In the image, shared by several media outlets, it is possible to see Ghislaine Maxwell accompanied by Jeffrey Epstein.
  • The picture of Bruce Reinhart holding a bottle, a cup and a package of cookies –which was digitally inserted over Epstein's image– was shared by the judge himself on his Facebook account in September 2017.
  • Arrested on July 6, 2019 on charges of sex trafficking dozens of young girls, Epstein was found dead in his prison cell on August 10, 2019.


Anne Heche’s movie “Girl in Room 13” not about Jeffrey Epstein

False claim: Social media users in the United States have shared the claim that “Girl in Room 13,” the latest movie starring actress Anne Henche, who died on August 15 after a car crash, was about “the Jeffrey Epstein ring”.


  • In a statement to Reuters, the Lifetime cable channel said that "Girl in Room 13" was inspired by true events, but not by Epstein’s case.
  • According to a press release published on June 9 by A+E Network – of which Lifetime is a subsidiary –, the movie tells the story of Grace – Heche's daughter in the plot – who is held captive in a hotel room to be sold to human trafficking rings.
  • On August 5, Heche was driving at high speed when she lost control of her car and crashed into a house, causing a fire. The actress, who was 53 years old, was rescued with serious injuries and taken to a hospital in Los Angeles, but was later declared brain dead.

United Kingdom

Ukrainian President Zelensky did not sell 17 million hectares of land to American conglomerates

False claim: Social media users in the UK have shared the claim that Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky sold 28% of all the country's land to American conglomerates Monsanto, DuPont and Cargill, and that this is “the real reason for the Ukraine war.” The posts cite as their source a report published on a website called the Australian National Review, which claims that the three American multinationals mentioned bought “17 million hectares of Ukrainian agricultural land.”


  • First, the article published on the Australian National Review features the following correction note at the bottom of the text: “The 17 million hectares quoted was an error and its 1.7 million. Note the alleged companies don’t hold the land in their names but via investment funds.”
  • According to the Ukrainian agribusiness website Latifundist, none of the companies mentioned in the posts are among the top 100 landholders in Ukraine.
  • In a statement to British fact-checking agency Full Fact, DuPont and Bayer – which bought Monsanto in 2018 – said that the information shared on social media is false and that they have not bought any land in Ukraine.

Latin America

Meta will not block accounts that talk about God from January 2023

False claim: Social media users in Latin America have shared a video that claims that Meta, who owns Facebook, will start blocking accounts that post God-related content starting January 19, 2023.


  • A search for the subject on the internet shows that the video is mistakenly based on an announcement made by Graham Mudd, Meta's vice president of product marketing and advertising, on November 9, 2021.
  • In a post on Meta's blog, Mudd informed: “Starting January 19, 2022 we will remove Detailed Targeting options that relate to topics people may perceive as sensitive, such as options referencing causes, organizations, or public figures that relate to health, race or ethnicity, political affiliation, religion, or sexual orientation.”
  • A brief review of Facebook's community standards shows that there is no rule stating that religious content or content that talks about God will be penalized or blocked.


Video does not show dead fish on a Taiwan beach after China’s recent military drills

False claim: Social media users in Hong Kong have shared a video showing thousands of dead fish on a beach, alongside the claim that the clip was allegedly recorded in Taiwan.

According to the posts, the scene was a result of “bombs dropped by China” during recent military drills around the island, in response to U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's official visit to Taiwan.


  • A reverse image search shows that the video has been circulating on the web at least since November 2021, when it was posted on YouTube with the following caption: “A large number of dead fish appeared on the beach of Shuangyue Bay in Huidong, Guangzhou.”
  • In an article published on November 5, 2021 the Chinese state-owned newspaper Beijing News reported the appearance of the fish on the beach and indicated that, according to local authorities, the causes of the incident were still unclear.