The year 2022 began with the world still under the shadow of the Coronavirus pandemic. After the end of most of the restrictions and social distancing measures that marked 2020 and 2021, the rollout of booster doses and the beginning of the vaccination of children gave a new impetus to COVID deniers, increasing online anti-vax activity and the spread of Fake News and conspiracy theories about the origins and effects of COVID-19 vaccines.

In late February, the world watched in astonishment as Russia invaded Ukraine, after Moscow spent weeks denying having such plans. In the months that followed, the internet was flooded with false rumors of Ukraine's purported actions that would justify the Russian invasion, from an alleged alignment with the Nazi ideology to Kyiv's supposed pursuit of nuclear and biological weapons.

Over the last months, the presidential election in Brazil and the U.S. midterms showed that challenging election results were not an isolated fact in Donald Trump's 2020 defeat, and are signs of a growing threat to democratic processes around the world.

After spending the whole year spotting the most popular hoaxes and misleading information, Blasting News’s editorial team publishes a list with 12 of the most shared false claims of 2022, one for each month of the year.


WHO chief did not say countries are giving booster shots to “kill children”

False claim: Social media users have shared a video of World Health Organization (WHO) chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus alongside the claim that he allegedly admitted during a press conference that some countries are using COVID-19 booster shots to “kill children.”


  • The clip shared on social media is part of a press conference on December 20, 2021 in which Tedros spoke about the need to prioritize vaccination efforts in poor countries and more vulnerable populations, rather than giving booster doses to children.
  • In a statement to AFP, the WHO said that Tedros stuttered during the press conference: “During his delivery of the word 'children', he got stuck on the first syllable 'chil' and it came out sounding like 'cil/kill.' He then correctly pronounced the same syllable immediately after, with it coming out audibly as 'cil-children'. Any other interpretation of this is 100% incorrect.”


Ukraine is not on a path to have nuclear weapons

False claim: In a speech on February 21, Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed that Ukraine has plans to develop nuclear weapons.

During the broadcast, the Russian leader further stated that the United States is converting its missile defenses into offensive weapons and has plans to put nuclear weapons on Ukrainian territory. “If Ukraine acquires weapons of mass destruction, the situation in the world and in Europe will drastically change, especially for us, for Russia [...] We cannot but react to this real danger,” Putin said.


  • With the end of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s, as part of an agreement promoted by Washington, London and Moscow – called the Budapest Memorandum –, Ukraine gave up a huge arsenal of Russian nuclear weapons left on its territory in exchange for ensuring the security and integrity of its borders.
  • Despite having the physical control of nuclear weapons during the Soviet period, only Russia had the technical capability to develop such weapons, and the authority to fire this arsenal was exclusive to Moscow.
  • According to data from the World Nuclear Association, Ukraine does not currently possess the necessary infrastructure to produce nuclear fuel – let alone nuclear weapons –, importing from Russia a large part of what it consumes to supply its nuclear plants.
  • The U.S. government has repeatedly said that it has no plans to install nuclear weapons in Ukraine, a country that is not even a member of NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization).


It is false that the U.S.

has biological weapons labs in Ukraine

False claim: Social media users around the world have shared claims that U.S.-funded labs in Ukraine are developing biological weapons. The posts echo a discourse promoted by Russian officials in recent years and now used to justify the country's decision to invade Ukraine.


  • Since 2005, as part of the Biological Threat Reduction Program, the United States has partnered with Ukraine to modernize the biological research laboratories that the European country inherited from the period when it was part of the Soviet Union.
  • Under the agreement, the U.S. Department of Defense is committed to helping the Ukrainian Ministry of Health ensure that the country's laboratories that study diseases cannot be used to develop biological weapons and to better detect, diagnose, and monitor outbreaks of infectious diseases.
  • According to the Defense Department, the United States has invested approximately $200 million in Ukraine since 2005, supporting 46 Ukrainian laboratories, health facilities, and diagnostic sites.
  • Both the U.S. and Ukraine are signatories to the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention, which prohibits the development, production, and possession of biological weapons.


Video showing civilian bodies in Bucha, Ukraine, was not “staged”

False claim: In early April, amid a military offensive to recapture invaded areas on the outskirts of Kiev, Ukrainian authorities accused Russian forces of executing hundreds of civilians during the retreat.

In the days that followed, the Ukrainian Defense Ministry posted on its Twitter account a video showing a military convoy passing through a destroyed street in the city of Bucha. In the images it is possible to see dozens of bodies lying on the sides of the road. The Russian Defense Ministry promptly denied the accusations, alleging that the images were “staged” and even show some bodies moving.


  • In the version published by the Russian authorities, and shared by thousands of users on social media, the video has been slowed down and its quality diminished compared to the video shared by the Ukrainian Defense Ministry.
  • An analysis of the higher quality original footage shows that none of the bodies lying on the ground move.
  • AFP journalists who entered Bucha on April 2 confirmed that they witnessed at least 20 bodies in civilian clothes lying on the streets.
  • Images taken by AFP photographers on April 2 and 3 show in detail some of the bodies that appear in the video shared by the Ukrainian Defense Ministry, including one of the bodies that Russian authorities claim moved in the video.


Monkeypox is not a “new virus” or has any link with COVID-19 vaccine

False claim: Amid a recent increase in the number of monkeypox cases reported in countries in Europe and North America, social media users around the world have shared claims that it is a “new virus” and that it is linked to AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine, that uses chimpanzee adenovirus.


  • Monkeypox was discovered in 1958, when two outbreaks were recorded in monkey colonies used for research.
  • The first recorded case in humans occurred in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Since then, according to the WHO, the disease has become endemic in parts of West and Central Africa, with sporadic cases reported in other regions of the world.
  • AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine does indeed include a chimpanzee adenovirus, which is modified to resemble SARS-CoV-2.
  • However, according to information from Oxford University, which helped in the development of the vaccine, this modified adenovirus is not capable of causing any disease: neither Covid-19, nor monkeypox.
  • Other than that, although both are viruses, adenovirus and monkeypox virus belong to completely different families.
  • Adenoviruses are a family of viruses that can cause infections of the respiratory tract, eyes, and gastrointestinal tract, while monkeypox virus is from the genus Orhopoxvirus, which belongs to the family Poxviridae.


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.


No evidence Shinzo Abe was killed for not following World Economic Forum orders

False claim: Social media users have shared the claim that former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was allegedly assassinated on June 8 for not following World Economic Forum orders over COVID-19.

“Assassinated Japanese P.M. didn’t follow WEF orders. Didn’t mandate vaccines, sent 1.6 million doses back and gave citizens ivermectin. Make sense now?” reads the caption of some of the posts.


  • First, although Japan has not had a COVID-19 vaccination mandate, more than 80% of the country's population has been vaccinated.
  • As for the information that Japan has suspended 1.6 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine, this is true, but the episode occurred after the distributor in Japan received reports of contaminants in some vials.
  • The government of Japan and Moderna, responsible for the vaccines, later said that no issues ha been identified and that the suspension served only as a precaution.
  • Regarding ivermectin, it is not on the list of drugs approved by Japan's medicines regulator, the Pharmaceuticals and Medicals Devices Agency (PMDA), to treat or prevent COVID-19.
  • Tetsuya Yamagami, a 41-year-old unemployed man, was arrested and named by police as the shooter who killed Abe.
  • According to reports from the investigation, Yamagami claimed to have a grudge against a particular organization and said he committed the crime because he believed Abe had a connection to it. The Japanese media also reported that Yamagami's family allegedly faced financial problems after his mother made donations to this organization.


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 it's 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.


Clarín did not tweet that Jair Bolsonaro claimed to have evidence of “scandalous fraud” in the second round of Brazil's presidential election

False claim: Social media users in Latin America have shared a screenshot of an alleged tweet from Argentine newspaper Clarín with the following message: “[Breaking News] Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro claims to have evidence of a 'scandalous fraud' and has ordered the mobilisation of the Armed Forces in the country.”


  • First, Clarín's verified Twitter account is @clarincom, while the account that made the viral post is @clarinlacom.
  • The fake account, which uses the same profile picture as the verified account of the Argentine newspaper, describes itself as follows in its bio: “obviously it is a parody account”.
  • On Tuesday afternoon, more than 40 hours after the official announcement of the results of the second round of Brazil's presidential election, which confirmed the victory of the left-wing candidate Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, Jair Bolsonaro made his first public statement since losing the election, stating that he will “comply” with the constitution. There was no mention in his brief speech of the alleged evidence of “scandalous fraud”.
  • Speaking after Bolsonaro's brief public address, his chief of staff, Ciro Nogueira, said that he was “authorized” by the president to begin the process of a transition to Lula's government.


Trump's claim that the ocean will rise one-eighth of an inch over the next 200 to 300 years is false

False claim: In a speech on November 15, in which he announced his third presidential bid, Donald Trump made the following statement: “You cannot mention the nuclear word; it’s too devastating.

The Green New Deal and the environment – which they say may affect us in 300 years – is all that is talked about. And yet nuclear weapons, which would destroy the world immediately, are never even discussed as a major threat. Can you imagine?.” “They say the ocean will rise one-eighth of an inch over the next 200 to 300 years, but don't worry about nuclear weapons that can take out entire countries with one shot,” he added.


  • A report published last April by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) informs that “if we are able to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, U.S. sea level in 2100 is projected to be around 0.6 meters (2 feet) higher on average than it was in 2000.”
  • NOAA’s report also states that “on a pathway with high greenhouse gas emissions and rapid ice sheet collapse, models project that average sea level rise for the contiguous United States could be 2.2 meters (7.2 feet) by 2100 and 3.9 meters (13 feet) by 2150.”
  • According to the document, global warming is causing global mean sea level to rise in two ways: “First, glaciers and ice sheets worldwide are melting and adding water to the ocean. Second, the volume of the ocean is expanding as the water warms.”


Record snow cover in the Northern Hemisphere in November does not disprove global warming

False claim: Social media users around the world have shared the claim that a record snow cover recorded in the Northern Hemisphere in November 2022 is an indication that global warming is a hoax.


  • According to data published by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Global Snow Lab at Rutgers University in the state of New Jersey, the snow extent in the Northern Hemisphere reached about 41 million square kilometers in November, the highest level since 1967, when measurements began.
  • In a statement to AFP, however, climatologist David Robinson, director of the Rutgers Global Snow Lab, said: “You can't link one map or even one month to global climate change. One needs to look over years, if not decades, to get a sense of where and why the extent of snow cover may or may not be changing.”
  • Also to AFP, Marie Dumont, director of France's national Snow Research Centre, said that snow cover is very variable from one year to the next and that a year with a lot of snow does not mean that global warming has stopped. “On average, according to the trends observed over several decades, there is an average decrease in snow cover,” she said.