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.


COVID-19 was not developed to spare Jews and Chinese people

False claim: During an event at a restaurant in New York City on July 11, anti-vaccine activist and Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. was recorded suggesting that COVID-19 was a genetically engineered bioweapon “ethnically targeted” to attack Caucasians and Black people and to spare Ashkenazi Jews and Chinese people.

“We don’t know whether it was deliberately targeted or not, but there are papers out there that show the racial and ethnic differential impact,” he says in the recording.


  • Contrary to what RFK Jr. claims, there is no study that shows that COVID-19 disproportionately affects Caucasians and Black people, or that Chinese and Jews are somehow more immune to the disease.
  • Studies, however, show that higher rates of infection and death from COVID-19, such as those recorded in Black and Hispanic communities in the U.S., resulted from social, economic and health inequities.
  • Both the scientific community and U.S. intelligence reject that COVID-19 was developed as a bioweapon.

Vaccines are not responsible for a rise in autism diagnoses

False claim: In 2005, RFK Jr.

published an article for Rolling Stone magazine and the website suggesting the existence of a massive conspiracy to cover up alleged connections between thimerosal, a mercury-based preservative formerly used in vaccines, and a rise in autism diagnoses, accusing the U.S. government of allowing the pharmaceutical industry “to poison an entire generation of American children.” Since then, RFK Jr.

has been a prominent figure in the anti-vaccine movement.


  • According to information from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), at least nine studies funded or conducted by the agency since 2003 have shown no link between vaccines containing thimerosal and cases of autism spectrum disorder.
  • In 2001, thimerosal was removed from all childhood vaccines in the U.S., except for some variations of the flu vaccine, in an effort by American authorities to reduce children's exposure to mercury.
  • Both and Rolling Stone eventually deleted RFK Jr.'s article.

School mass shootings are not linked to psychiatric drugs

False claim: In an interview with Elon Musk on Twitter Spaces on June 5, RFK Jr.

suggested that the epidemic of school mass shootings in the U.S. may be a reflection of American youth taking psychiatric drugs such as SSRI antidepressants. “Prior to the introduction of Prozac, we had almost none of these events in our country,” Kennedy Jr. claimed.


  • Contrary to what RFK Jr. suggests, there is no scientifically established correlation between psychiatric drugs and mass shootings.
  • Created by the nonprofit research center The Violence Project, the Mass Shooter Database, which compiles data from more than 170 mass shootings in the U.S. since 1966, shows that only 23% of all mass shooters in the country were taking some form of psychiatric medication before committing the attacks.
  • A similar conclusion was made by a study led by forensic psychiatrists Ryan Chaloner Winton Hall and Susan Hatters Friedman, and published in 2019 by the National Library of Medicine, which examined public data from mass shootings that occurred in the U.S. between 2017 and 2017.
  • “From the information obtained, it appears that most school shooters were not previously treated with psychotropic medications – and even when they were, no direct or causal association was found,” reads the study.

No evidence atrazine in water supply is leading children to identify as transgender

False claim: In a series of statements over the past few years, most recently in a June 5 interview on Jordan Peterson's podcast, RFK Jr.

said that the presence of the herbicide atrazine in the water supply was affecting children's sexuality, causing more young people to identify as transgender. RFK Jr. refers to a study that found that exposure to atrazine in water caused some male frogs to become infertile and in some cases develop female sex organs, claiming that there is plenty of evidence that it is also doing this to humans.


  • Created in 1958, atrazine has been widely used for decades for weed control and is, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture data, the second most widely used herbicide in the country, behind only glyphosate.
  • Contrary to RFK Jr.'s claims, there is no study in humans showing any link between atrazine exposure and changes in sexuality and gender expression.


It is false that some “liberal states” allow “post-birth” abortions

False claim: In an interview with CNN on July 18, Florida Governor and GOP presidential candidate Ron DeSantis claimed that “some liberal states” in the U.S.

allow “post-birth” abortions.


  • According to the Legal Information Institute at Cornell Law School in New York, an abortion is “the voluntary termination of a pregnancy.” The U.S. National Institutes of Health defines abortion as “a procedure to end a pregnancy.” It can be done in two ways: medical abortion, which uses drugs to end the pregnancy, and procedural abortion, in which a procedure is performed to remove the pregnancy from the uterus.
  • Terminating the life of a baby after birth is therefore not an abortion from a medical or legal perspective, but rather infanticide. No U.S. state currently allows infanticide.


Ukrainian defense minister's daughter did not buy a villa in Cannes

False claim: Social media users in Europe have shared a claim that Ukraine's Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov recently bought a villa in Cannes worth 7 million euros and gave it to his daughter as a wedding present.

The posts are accompanied by a video showing alleged photos of Reznikov with his daughter, named Anastasia Steinhaus in the video, and images of the villa he allegedly bought on the French Riviera.


  • A reverse image search shows that one of the images shared in the video was originally published on August 11, 2022 in an article in the Ukrainian edition of French magazine Elle. According to the news report, the woman in the picture is Yulia Zoriy, a TV presenter and Reznikov's wife.
  • The second image, featuring a young woman dressed as a bride, was posted by Reznikov on his official Facebook account on September 21, 2013. The photo shows the politician next Anastasiya Shteyngauz, his daughter from a previous relationship. In a post on her Facebook profile, Anastasiya shared the false claim about her, accompanied by a sarcastic comment.
  • The images of the villa bear the watermark of luxury real estate agency Christie's. According to the ad on Christie's website, the property in Cannes, on sale for 12 million euros, is still available on the market.

United Kingdom

TV documentary about lab-grown 'human meat' is satirical

False claim: Social media users in the United Kingdom have expressed outrage at clips from a documentary by British broadcaster Channel 4 about the existence of an alleged lab-grown “human meat” facility in the country.


  • The clips shared on social media are part of the documentary “Gregg Wallace: The British Miracle Meat,” aired in Britain on July 25.
  • The show, however, is a mockumentary that follows presenter Greg Wallace on a visit to a hoax “engineered human meat” facility called Good Harvest.
  • In a statement to the press, a Channel 4 spokesperson said: “This ‘mockumentary’ is a witty yet thought-provoking commentary on the extreme measures many people are being forced to take to stay afloat in our society during the cost of living crisis.”