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.


Titan submersible was not found empty

False claim: Social media users around the world have shared a screenshot of an alleged article published by CNN informing that the Titan submersible, which went missing last Sunday during an expedition to the wreck of the Titanic, was found by rescuers without any of its five passengers on board.


  • In a statement to AFP, Emily Kuhn, CNN's vice president of communications, said that the image circulating on social media “is fabricated and not something CNN reported”. A search on CNN's website and on its social media accounts does not find any article with the information that went viral on the web.
  • On Thursday afternoon, the U.S. Coast Guard reported finding wreckage of the Titan submersible 1,600 feet off the bow of the Titanic. “This is an incredibly unforgiving environment down there on the seafloor and the debris is consistent with a catastrophic implosion of the vessel,” U.S. Coast Guard Rear Adm. John Mauger told reporters.
  • Shortly after, OceanGate Expeditions, the company that operates the Titan submersible, issued an official statement with the following message: “We now believe that our CEO Stockton Rush, Shahzada Dawood and his son Suleman Dawood, Hamish Harding, and Paul-Henri Nargeolet, have sadly been lost.”


Photo of Biden wearing a diaper at Air Force event is doctored

False claim: Social media users around the world have shared a picture that allegedly reveals President Joe Biden wearing a diaper under his suit.

In the image it is possible to see Biden being helped to his feet by three people.


  • A reverse image search shows that the picture was taken by photographer Brendan Smialowski and published in an article by the AFP on June 2, 2023. In the original image it is possible to see that Biden is not wearing a diaper.
  • According to the article, the image shows Biden being helped to his feet after tripping and falling on June 1, 2023 during a graduation ceremony at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado.
  • Video footage of the event published by other media outlets, such as ABC News, confirms that Biden was not wearing a diaper when he fell.
  • At 80, Biden is the oldest sitting president in U.S. history and has been the subject of constant questioning, mainly from opponents, about his physical and mental health, especially after announcing his 2024 re-election campaign.


Pfizer has not paid CNN anchor Anderson Cooper to promote mRNA COVID jabs

False claim: Social media users in the United States have shared the claim that Pfizer allegedly paid CNN anchor Anderson Cooper $12 million as part of a deal to promote its COVID-19 mRNA vaccine to the American public.

Some of the posts credit the information to anti-vaccine activist and Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr.


  • In an interview published on October 2, 2022 on the YouTube channel London Real, Kennedy stated: “75% of advertising revenues now in the mainstream media are now coming from pharma and that ratio is even higher for the evening news. Anderson Cooper has a $12 million a year annual salary. Well $10 million of that is coming from Pfizer. His boss is not CNN. His boss is Pfizer.” Kennedy, however, did not provide any sources during the interview to back up his allegations.
  • When asked by the AP, Kennedy's campaign office said that the statement was only “a rhetorical comment, based on the huge proportion of television advertising revenue that comes from pharmaceutical companies.”
  • In a statement to Politifact, Bridget Leininger, CNN’s senior communications director, said the claim circulating on the web is “fabricated and false.”


German magazine did not publish that Ukrainian intelligence chief is in coma in Berlin

False claim: Social media users in Europe have shared the claim that the German magazine Stern reportedly published that Ukraine's military intelligence chief Kyrylo Budanov is in a coma and hospitalized in Berlin after an attack by Russian military forces.


  • After the rumor went viral, Stern magazine published a statement on its website on June 17 informing that the claim is false and that it was spread by Russian propagandists.
  • Russian media outlets linked to the Kremlin government, such as Sputnik and Ria Novosti, also published that Budanov had been seriously injured in an attack carried out on May 29 against the headquarters of the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense in Kiev. According to both media outlets, Budanov had been taken to a hospital in Berlin.
  • On June 20, Budanov was interviewed live by Ukrainian television channel TCH. On the same day, the website of the Main Intelligence Directorate published a photo of Budin during a meeting with the Japanese ambassador Matsuda Kuninori, accompanied by a statement that Budanov is “in good health.”

Latin America

Israel has not passed a law that forbids speaking about Jesus

False claim: Social media users in Latin America have shared the claim that Israel's government reportedly passed a law making it illegal in the country to talk about Jesus Christ, and that offenders could be sentenced to up to 2 years in prison.


  • The false claim seems to have stemmed from the interpretation of a bill proposed earlier this year by members of the Knesset – the Israeli parliament – Moshe Gafni and Yaakov Asher, from the ultra-Orthodox United Torah Judaism (UTJ) party, but not yet approved.
  • The bill, available on the Knesset website, punishes with one to two years in prison the act of religious proselytism, the attempt to convert individuals or groups to a particular belief or doctrine. The text, however, speaks specifically of “missionary groups, especially Christians.”
  • On March 22, amidst an intense discussion in the country about the possible effects of the bill, Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu posted on his official Twitter account the following message: “We will not advance any law against the Christian community.”


Video does not show rebel leader saying he is being armed by Ethiopian government

False claim: Social media users in Ethiopia have shared a video of just over a minute in which Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) leader Jaal-Marroo Dirribaa appears allegedly claiming that the Ethiopian government is supplying the rebel group with weapons and ammunition.


  • A reverse image search shows that the clip shared on social media is part of a 50-minute video originally posted on YouTube on May 31, 2023.
  • In the original footage, after claiming that the Ethiopian government is giving weapons and ammunition to the OLA, Marroo clarifies that the rebels took the equipment by defeating Ethiopian soldiers in battle.
  • The OLA emerged in 2018 as a dissidence of the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), after that group renounced armed struggle. The Oromia region is home to the OLF and to the Oromo community, the country's largest ethnic group, which claims to be oppressed and marginalized by the Ethiopian central government.
  • Early last May, a first round of talks between the Ethiopian government and the OLA, held in Zanzibar, Tanzania, ended without reaching a peace agreement. Despite the failure, both sides expressed willingness to continue the talks. Weeks later, however, members of the OLA accused the Ethiopian government of launching a major military offensive against the rebels.