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.


Pictures used by Russia to accuse Ukraine of making a dirty bomb are old, from movies or from Russia itself

False claim: Russia claimed during this week that Ukraine is in the final stages of developing a “dirty bomb.” To support the claim, the Russian Defense Ministry posted on social media three slides with some images and data that would demonstrate the alleged illicit activities of the Kiev government.


  • First, the term “dirty bomb,” also called a radiological dispersal device (RDD), designates any artifact that, when detonated, carries radioactive material into the surrounding area.
  • According to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, “a dirty bomb is not a ‘weapon of mass destruction’ but a ‘weapon of mass disruption,’ where contamination and anxiety are the major objectives.” The main danger of a “dirty bomb,” therefore, comes from its explosion, not from radiation.
  • Reverse image searches show that the pictures used by the Russian Defense Ministry in the shared slides have no relation to Ukraine, being old, from movies or even taken in Russia itself.
  • In the slide titled “Ukraine's capabilities to create the ‘dirty bomb’”, for example, the image illustrating the subtitle “Scientific research reactors” is available on the Russian website, referring to the Russian nuclear power plant in Beloyarsk. The image next to that one, of a man wearing special gloves, can be found in an article about a plant in Novosibirsk, Russia, published on the website.
  • On the same slide, the image illustrating the subtitle “Development of a ‘dirty bomb’”, as well as showing bags with the inscription “Radioaktivno”, apparently in Slovenian, can be found in an article published on June 25, 2014 on the Montenegrin website
  • According to Ukraine and Western countries, Russia could be preparing to detonate a “dirty bomb” itself and accuse Ukraine, to justify a military escalation using nuclear weapons.


Crew of U.S.

military plane not arrested in connection with Nord Stream explosion

False claim: Social media users in Europe have shared a screenshot of an article titled “P-8 Poseidon Crew Arrested in Connection with Nord Stream Explosion.”


  • At the end of September, explosions and leaks were reported on the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines, which carry Russian gas to Europe via the Baltic Sea. Investigations into the causes of the underwater explosions are still ongoing.
  • A few hours after the first explosions, a U.S. Navy P-8A Poseidon reconnaissance aircraft flew close to the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. A U.S. Navy spokesperson said at the time that the aircraft was conducting a routine reconnaissance flight in the Baltic Sea “unrelated to the Nord Stream pipeline leak.”
  • A reverse image search shows that the article shared on social media was originally published on October 7, 2022 by the Real Raw News website, which describes itself as follows in its “About Us” section: “This website contains humor, parody, and satire.”
  • Other than the article published by Real Raw News, there is no mention in the mainstream Western media of the arrest of any American military personnel in connection with the pipeline explosions.


Image does not show Ukrainian first lady on vacation in Israel

False claim: Facebook users in Thailand have shared a photo of a woman on a beach, alongside the claim that she is the Ukrainian first lady Olena Zelenska on vacation in Israel.

According to the posts, the image was allegedly “leaked by Russian reporters.”


  • A reverse image search shows that the image has been circulating on the web since 2016, when it was published in articles about Russian TV host Elena Lenina.
  • On October 24, Lenina posted a Story on her verified Instagram account making the following statement: “My photo is being exploited.”

United States

A “peer-reviewed paper” did not find that “Fauci created COVID-19”

False claim: Instagram users in the United States have shared a video that claims a new scientific study has found that COVID-19 was created by Dr.

Anthony Fauci. The caption of the clip, which features far-right talk show host Stew Peters, shows the following message: “Peer-reviewed paper has vindicated what we have been saying. It was a man-made Bioweapon, NOT a ‘respiratory virus’.”


  • The video shared on Instagram is part of the October 24 episode of Peters' show, which has a track record of sharing conspiracy theories about the origin of COVID-19 and an anti-vaccine rhetoric.
  • In the original video, Peters points to a recently published preprint of an academic study as the source of the information. Although he repeats in the clip that the study has been “peer reviewed,” the term preprint indicates that it has not undergone peer-review.
  • On the website where the paper was posted on October 20, a note reads: “bioRxiv posts many COVID19-related papers. A reminder: they have not been formally peer-reviewed and should not guide health-related behavior or be reported in the press as conclusive.”
  • The paper, titled “Endonuclease fingerprint indicates a synthetic origin of SARS-CoV-2,” does not mention Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and chief medical advisor to the White House.

United States

Uber is not offering a “walking buddy” option

False claim: Social media users in the United States have shared a purported screenshot of a new feature on the Uber app that offers customers a “walking buddy” option.


  • In a statement to Reuters, Conor Ferguson, an Uber spokesperson, confirmed that the screenshot is fake and that the company is not offering a “walking buddy” option.

Latin America

Chile's president did not urge protesters to destroy and loot supermarkets

False claim: Social media users in Chile have shared screenshots of alleged messages posted in 2019 on Twitter by the country's current president, Gabriel Boric, urging the population to destroy and loot supermarkets amid a wave of protests.


  • A search on Boric's official Twitter account for the messages shared on social media yields no results. The same is true when searching for messages among the archived and deleted tweets of the current president.
  • An analysis of the shared screenshots shows that the messages urging the population to loot and destroy stores were posted by fake accounts.
  • During the 2019 protests, which began with a student demonstration against the increase in subway fares in Santiago and ended in a series of violent clashes between protesters and police, Boric published several tweets criticizing looting by protesters. He was also one of the deputies who passed the Anti-Looting Law in December of that year.