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.


Preventing transmission was never required for COVID vaccines’ initial approval

False claim: Social media users around the world have shared the claim that a Pfizer executive allegedly “admitted” during a hearing in the European Parliament that the company rolled out its COVID-19 vaccine without testing its effectiveness in preventing the transmission of the virus.


  • The posts, many accompanied by the hashtag #PfizerGate, went viral on social media after Dutch MEP Rob Roos tweeted on October 11, 2022 a video with the following caption: “BREAKING: Vaccine never tested on preventing transmission This means the COVID passport was based on a big lie.”
  • In the clip, during a COVID hearing in the European Parliament, Roos asks Janine Small, Pfizer's president of international developed markets, if the company’s COVID vaccine was “tested for stopping transmission of the virus before it entered the market.” Small replies “no” and explains: “We had to really move at the speed of science to understand what is taking place in the market”.
  • Published in the European Parliament Multimedia Centre, the interview with Small took place on October 10, 2022 during a hearing to discuss the transparency of the negotiations between Pfizer and the EU over advance-purchase orders for 200 million COVID vaccine doses before the vaccine had gained regulatory approval.
  • In 2020, when governments were negotiating advance purchase of COVID vaccines, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) laid out requirements for conditional marketing authorization of a COVID-19 vaccine, and testing the effectiveness of the vaccine in preventing onward transmission was not part of it. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) laid out similar requirements in June 2020, also not requiring data regarding the effect on virus transmission.


President Zelensky's office in Kyiv was not blown up by Russian forces

False claim: Social media users around the world have shared a video that shows an explosion and large plumes of smoke in the distance, alongside the claim that a Russian missile reportedly destroyed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky's office in central Kiev.


  • According to an analysis conducted by Reuters from the images shared on social media, the area where the smoke is seen billowing from is likely close to Saksahanskoho Street, over a mile from the president’s official offices.
  • Hours after the Russian attacks took place in Kiev on October 10, Zelensky posted a video on Facebook. The clip was shot near the presidential office building, which can be seen unaffected in the background.


Putin did not predict 9/11 during a 1998 interview

False claim: A video of an old interview with Vladimir Putin has been shared by social media users in Europe, alongside the claim that it was recorded in 1998, before he became president of Russia.

According to the subtitles, Putin allegedly claimed that the United States was planning an attack on the Twin Towers in New York City.


  • A reverse image search shows that the interview, available in the Kremlin media archives, was broadcast by Russian TV RTR on January 23, 2000 when Putin was already president of Russia.
  • An analysis of the original transcript of the interview shows that the subtitles in the viral video do not correspond to what was said during the conversation.
  • At no point in the video does Putin mention the Twin Towers or any American plans for an attack in New York City.


Kanye West's claim that fentanyl, not Derek Chauvin, killed George Floyd is false

False claim: On October 16, 2022 during an interview with the podcast Drink Champs, Kanye West claimed that George Floyd was not killed by former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin.

“They hit him with the fentanyl. If you look, the guy’s knee wasn’t even on his neck like that,” the artist said.


  • Contrary to West's claims, two autopsy reports ruled that the cause of Floyd's death on May 25, 2020 was homicide by asphyxiation, or suffocation.
  • According to the Hennepin County medical examiner’s office, although traces of fentanyl were found in George Floyd's body, the cause of death was homicide as a result of “cardiopulmonary arrest complicating law enforcement subdual, restraint, and neck compression.”
  • Following Kanye West's statement, Roxie Washington, mother of George Floyd's daughter Gianna Floyd, filed a $250 million lawsuit against the singer.
  • In June 2021, former police officer Derek Chauvin, who knelt on Floyd's neck for more than 9 minutes, was sentenced to 22 years and 6 months in prison. In December of the same year, Chauvin pleaded guilty to a federal charge of violating Floyd's civil rights.


Flag was not made of Iranian women’s hair

False claim: Social media users in India have shared images of a flag made of human hair, alongside the claim that it was allegedly made of the hair of Iranian women protesting against the country’s mandatory hijab rules.


  • A reverse image search shows that pictures of the flag made of human hair have been circulating on the web at least since 2014.
  • One of the images was published in 2016 on the website of the Wiels contemporary art center in Brussels on the occasion of an exhibition by Belgian visual artist Edith Dekyndt.
  • In a statement to AFP, Magali Wyns, a spokesperson from Galerie Greta Meert, a Brussels art gallery which represents Dekyndt, said that the flag is a video installation created in 2014 by Edith Dekyndt and titled “Ombre Indigène Part 2 (Île de la Martinique).”
  • The series of protests in Iran began on September 17, in reaction to the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who was arrested by Iran's morality police for allegedly not wearing her hijab correctly.


Video does not show Nigeria ruling party's presidential candidate being criticised by his daughters

False claim: Social media users in Nigeria have shared a video, alongside the claim that the clip shows the daughters of ruling party's presidential candidate Bola Tinubu criticising their father ahead of next year's elections.

“Exposed: Tinubu daughters finally exposed their father,” reads the caption of some of the posts.


  • A reverse image search shows that the video circulating on social media was originally published on a YouTube channel called FK Entertainment, which usually posts content in support of opposition candidate Peter Obi.
  • The clip shows two distinct excerpts: a television interview with a woman and a video of a woman posted on a social network. In both cases, they criticise Tinubu and refer to him as “my father.”
  • The interview that is part of the viral video was originally broadcast by Channels Television's weekly program “Rubbin Minds” on May 15, 2022. According to the full version of the program, available on YouTube, the woman interviewed is the Nigerian activist Adetoun Onajobi, who is not related to Tinubu.
  • The second video was published on July 19, 2022 on an Instagram account called @justadetoun, which features numerous videos of Onajobi. In the full clip, it is possible to hear the activist saying: “Tinubu is like my father and a father in-law to me, but I will never support his ambition to become the president.”