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.


Image of man giving middle finger to Joe Biden in Poland is doctored

False claim: Social media users around the world have shared an image in which an audience member apparently shows his middle fingers to President Joe Biden during his recent visit to Warsaw, Poland.


  • A reverse image search shows that in the original picture, posted on the White House official social media accounts on February 22, the man in the audience gives a thumbs-up to Biden.
  • A watermark on the shared image of the man showing his middle fingers indicates that it was posted by Twitter user @johnhackerla, who describes himself as a “meme creator”. When asked by another user whether the image in question was authentic, @johnhackerla admitted that it had been digitally manipulated.


Sam Smith has not said he wants to change the name of the city of Manchester

False claim: Social media users around the world have shared a screenshot of an article claiming that British singer Sam Smith reportedly threatened to cancel a concert in the English city of Manchester until it changed its name to Themchester.


  • A reverse image search shows that the article was originally published on February 19, 2023 by the website Ireland on Craic.
  • In its “About Us” section, Ireland on Craic defines itself as “a comedy, satirical website.” “All our stories are made up and complete fiction, just like in all forms of comedy,” reads the description.
  • There is no evidence that Sam Smith, who declared himself non-binary and embraced gender-neutral pronouns in 2019, made any comments regarding the name of the city of Manchester.


Illustrations of a girl looking at her genitals are not from a Spanish textbook for 4-year-olds

False claim: Social media users in Europe have shared a set of illustrations showing a girl looking at her genitals in a mirror, accompanied by the claim that the images are part of a textbook distributed to 4-year-olds in the Spanish province of Castellón.


  • A reverse image search shows that the illustrations shared on social media are actually part of the book “Tu cuerpo mola”, released by authors Marta and Cristina Torrón in 2021 and intended for children ages 9 and up.
  • Contrary to what the posts claim, the book is not part of the teaching material used in the Spanish province of Castellón, nor is it part of the list of contents recommended by the regional education body.


COVID-19 vaccines did not cause a 17% increase in heart attack deaths in Australia in 2022

False claim: Social media users in Australia have shared a report from Brisbane-based broadcaster 9 News Queensland saying that in the first eight months of 2022, more than 10,200 Australians died due to heart-related disease, a 17% increase from what would be “considered normal” in the period.

The posts, however, suggest that this increase in the number of deaths was caused by the COVID-19 vaccines.


  • The 9 News Queensland report was broadcast last January 20. In the full video, journalist Aislin Kriukelis states that, according to health experts, the COVID-19 pandemic has “increased risk factors.” She also explains that studies show that some people are more likely to have heart disease or stroke after being infected with COVID-19, and that in many cases the pandemic has caused people to delay routine health checkups, which has negatively affected early diagnosis and, consequently, treatment of many diseases.
  • A study published on December 7, 2022 by the Actuaries Institute in Australia reported that 10,220 deaths from ischemic heart disease were recorded in the country from January to August 2022, 17% higher than they had predicted. According to the study's authors, the excess death toll was likely caused by delays in emergency and routine care.
  • According to a vaccine safety report published on November 17, 2022 by the Australian government's Therapeutic Goods Administration, of the 944 reported deaths following vaccination from February 2021 to November 2022, only 14 were linked to the COVID-19 vaccination.


Argentina's President Alberto Fernández did not defend euthanasia for people over 70

False claim: Social media users in Brazil have shared a video of an interview of Argentina's President Alberto Fernandez, accompanied by Portuguese subtitles according to which he allegedly claimed that people who used to live 70 years are now living 85, putting an increasing pressure on the country’s economy, and suggesting euthanasia as a solution to the problem.


  • A reverse image search shows that the clip shared on social media is part of an interview given by Alberto Fernández to journalist Jorge Fontevecchia in April 2020. The full video is available on the Argentine president's official YouTube channel.
  • During the interview, recorded in the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, Fernández states that medical advances in recent decades have led to a growth in the country's elderly population, creating a major challenge for the government due to the decrease in the number of people working and contributing to the economy. However, at no time has the Argentine president proposed euthanasia as a solution to this problem.