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.


U.K. has not stopped giving COVID-19 vaccines to all children ages 5 to 11

False claim: Social media users around the world have shared the claim that the U.K. Health Security Agency has stopped giving COVID-19 vaccines to all children ages 5 to 11. Some posts claim that the decision was made after “an increase in deaths” was reported, while others claim that the vaccines “cause developmental problems.”


  • In February 2022, the UK's Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization (JCVI) announced a “non-urgent” offer of the Pfizer vaccine to children between 5 and 11 who weren’t in a clinical risk group or a close contact of someone immunosuppressed.
  • The JCVI made it clear at the time that this was a “one-off pandemic response programme” and it would cover only those who turned 5 by the end of August 2022.
  • Since September 1, children who are turning 5 now are only offered the vaccine if they are in a high-risk group.
  • Children under the age of 12 and who turned 5 before September 1 remain eligible to receive the Covid-19 vaccine in the U.K.


Article misrepresents study by saying glacier melt in Greenland is caused by natural factors

False claim: Social media users around the world have shared an article claiming that a recent study on melting glaciers in Greenland found that climate change has been caused by natural factors, not carbon emissions.

“Climate scientists have shown that Greenland ice has recovered since 2012 and the earlier loss was due to 'natural variability' not human CO2 emissions,” reads the article published on October 2, 2022 by The Daily Sceptic. The article cites as its source a December 2021 study by Japanese climatologists at Hokkaido University and states that they attributed slowing warming in Greenland to the natural weather phenomenon El Niño.


  • Speaking to AFP, the lead author of the study, Shinji Matsumura of Japan's National Research Institute for Earth Science and Disaster Resilience, denies what is claimed in the article.
  • “Our paper is misrepresented on that blog. We do not agree that (the findings) 'play havoc with' the view that human-emitted CO2 is a main driver of global warming (...) Global average air temperature is rising due to anthropogenic climate change,” he said.
  • According to the study published by Hokkaido University, “the Greenland ice sheet is melting in the long run due to global warming associated with greenhouse gas emissions, but the pace of that melting has slowed in the last decade (...) That slowing was a mystery until our research showed it is connected to changes to the El Niño climate pattern in the Pacific.”
  • The study, however, states that the results presented “demonstrate how natural changes can act alongside the long-term global warming trend to vary local conditions” and that the expectation is that “global warming and ice sheet melting in Greenland and the rest of the Arctic will accelerate even further in the future due to the effects of anthropogenic warming.”


Image does not show sharks in a shopping mall after Hurricane Ian

False claim: Social media users in the United States have shared an alleged image of sharks swimming near the escalators of a flooded building, accompanied by the claim that the scene was recorded at a shopping mall in Fort Myers, Florida, after Hurricane Ian, which left nearly 100 people dead.


  • A reverse image search shows that the picture –without the sharks– was published by Canadian broadcaster CTV News Toronto on June 1, 2012.
  • According to the news report, the picture, taken by photographer Jeff Long, shows Toronto’s Union Station flooded after heavy rains.
  • In an interview with AFP, Twitter user Jamie King, who claims to have doctored the original image to add the sharks, said: “I created the image in 2012 as a joke in response to unusual flooding in downtown Toronto, where I live.”


BBC correspondent did not pretend to be under attack in Ukraine

False claim: Social media users in Europe have shared an image of BBC journalist Jeremy Bowen laying on a dirt path, wearing a press vest and helmet, while a woman holding a bag appears in the background.

According to the posts, the picture shows the journalist pretending to be on the frontlines of the Russia-Ukraine war.


  • A reverse image search shows that the picture is part of a BBC video report published on March 6, 2022. In the full clip, Bowen’s shows civilians fleeing the city of Irpin, a northwestern Kyiv suburb, amid Russian attack.
  • In the video, in which explosions can be heard in the background, Bowen reports that civilians are escaping near “what’s left of a bridge that was blown to slow down the Russians.”
  • The woman who appears in the background in the image shared on social media –whom many posts claimed was looking on “bemused”– can be seen in the BBC report crouching down behind a piece of debris while firing is heard in the distance.


Images of large crowds do not show Iran's pro-hijab protests in 2022

False claim: Social media users in Pakistan have shared two pictures of large crowds protesting, accompanied by the claim that those are images of pro-government demonstrations in Iran in response to the recent series of protests for women's rights and against the country’s mandatory hijab rules that have been taking place in since mid-September.


  • A reverse image search shows that both pictures were not recorded this year. The first of them, in which a group of women in black hijab is seen protesting on a street, was published by the Associated Press in December 2017 during a pro-government demonstration in Tehran. The second image, which shows a crowd near the Azadi Tower, a famous monument in the Iranian capital, was published by the state-run Mehr News Agency on January 6, 2020 during the funeral of military commander Qasem Soleimani, who was killed in a U.S. strike in Baghdad.
  • Although not new, the pictures began circulating on social media after thousands of people actually participated on September 23 in pro-government demonstrations in several Iranian cities.
  • The series of protests against the Iranian government –with women burning their veils, cutting their hair and calling for freedom– 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.

Latin America

Cities in Brazil's northeast did not have more votes for Lula than total population

False claim: Social media users in Brazil have shared a post that claims ten cities in the country’s northeast region had more votes to the leftist presidential candidate Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva than the total population during the first round of the election on October 2.


  • First, of the ten cities in the list, three do not exist: Barragem, Novaçores and Nova Liberdade. The city of Porto da Pedra –in Alagoas– is wrongly indicated as being located in the state of Pernambuco.
  • Regarding the other cities in the list, which includes two municipalities located in the country’s south region –Poço das Antas and Joaçaba–, an analysis of the official data from the Superior Electoral Court (TSE) shows that the numbers of votes and residents shared on social media are incorrect.
  • In neither case is the number of votes for Lula greater than the population of the cities. Moreover, in Poço das Antas and Joaçaba the current president and candidate for reelection Jair Bolsonaro led the vote count.