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.

Climate change

Temperatures of over 104 °F recorded in the 1950s do not prove global warming is a hoax

False claim: Amid the recent extreme heat wave in Europe, with temperatures exceeding 104 °F (40 °C) in several parts of the Mediterranean, social media users in Italy have shared the front page of the July 13, 1952’s issue of La Domenica del Corriere, a discontinued supplement of the Milanese newspaper Corriere della Sera, in which it is reported that several regions in Italy and the rest of Europe recorded temperatures of over 40 °C (104 °F) that summer.

According to the posts, the fact that such high temperatures were recorded more than 70 years ago would be proof that global warming is a hoax.


  • The fact that days with temperatures above 104 °F (40 °C) have been recorded in the past does not indicate, according to experts, that the climate in general is not getting warmer over the past decades.
  • Data published by the European Environment Agency in January 2022, for example, show that while southern Europe recorded an average of 25 days per year with temperatures above 86 °F (30 °C) between 1950 and 1975, in the last five years this average has been closer to almost 50 days per year.
  • According to data on the Climate Shift Index, created by Climate Central, a non-profit research group that develops reports on climate change, in many regions of southern Europe extreme weather events such as those recorded in recent days are now at least five times more frequent and longer due to the effects of global warming.

It is false that there has been no change in the average UK temperature for two decades

False claim: Social media users have shared an article claiming that, according to data from the Met Office, the United Kingdom’s weather service, there has been no change in the average UK temperature over the past two decades.

According to the article, “the current 10-year running average in the UK is still no higher than it was between 1998 and 2007.”


  • A report published by the Met Office in December 2021 on changes in the UK’s climate over the last 60 years shows that “comparing two 30-year periods (1961-1990 and 1991-2020), the average temperature of the UK has increased by 0.8 °C.”
  • In a statement to Reuters, Grahame Madge, a Met Office spokesperson, said that data collected by the agency since 1884 shows “considerable warming” over time and that “the most recent two decades are clearly much warmer than the rest of the series.”

Picture of melted traffic light was not taken in Bulgaria and is not related to extreme heat wave

False claim: Social media users in Europe have shared an image of a melted traffic light, alongside the claim that the picture was taken in a town in Bulgaria amid the recent extreme heat wave recorded in Europe.


  • A reverse image search shows that the same image was shared in August 2022, in an article published by Italian fact-checking agency Open. The article states that the picture was taken in Milan. According to what the fire department told Open, the traffic light had melted as a result of a scooter catching fire beneath it.


Justice Department did not remove international child sex trafficking from its “list of offenses that deserve a high degree of attention”

False claim: Social media users in the United States have shared the claim that the U.S.

Department of Justice had recently made changes to its page on international child sex trafficking, stating that this crime is no longer “an area of concern” and that it was removed from its “list of offenses that deserve a high degree of attention.”


  • Contrary to what the viral posts claim, no recent changes made to the U.S. Department of Justice website indicate that fighting international child sex trafficking has somehow ceased to be a priority or has been removed from any list of high priority offenses.
  • The most recent change to the department's page on international child trafficking, on May 12, removed descriptions of how traffickers put children from different parts of the world into prostitution in the U.S. and how they use the internet and smartphones to find more clientele.
  • In a statement to the AP, the Justice Department said it continues to give “very high priority on and devote substantial resources” to fighting child exploitation and sex trafficking abroad and in the U.S. “To suggest otherwise is simply false,” the agency claimed.


Picture does not show hundreds of ballots for opposition party found in dumpster ahead of general election in Spain

False claim: Social media users in Spain have shared a claim that 354 envelopes containing mail-in votes for Spain's conservative opposition Popular Party (PP) were found in a dumpster in the town of Badajoz ahead of the country’s general election on Sunday July 23.

The posts are accompanied by an image of the dumpster where the envelopes with the votes were allegedly found.


  • On July 14, José Ángel Sánchez, a spokesperson for the Popular Party in the autonomous community of Extremadura, informed the press that the previous day 354 envelopes containing the party's campaign material were found in a dumpster in Badajoz. According to Sánchez, the material should have been distributed to residents of the nearby town of Talavera la Real. He also said the party would ask the Post Office to investigate the case.
  • A reverse image search shows that the image of the dumpster shared on social media was originally published in an article in the newspaper La Voz del Interior, from Córdoba, Argentina, on March 20, 2017.
  • Titled “Dumpsters continue to be a danger on the streets”, the article informs that the image was taken at the corner of Obispo Trejo and Pueyrredón streets in Córdoba.


Video does not show Pope John Paul II’s undecomposed body

False claim: Social media users in India have shared a video allegedly showing the body of Pope John Paul II inside a glass case during a church service.

“Pope John Paul's body was yesterday exhumed, after 12 years. His body appears intact with no signs of decay,” reads the caption of some of the posts.


  • A reverse image search shows that the video shared on social media was originally published on YouTube on August 23, 2011, accompanied by the following description: “Visit of the Relics of Blessed John Paul II to the COLEGIO MERCEDES.”
  • Colegio Mercedes is a private educational institution located in Mexico City. Images of the college chapel published on the institution's official Instagram account show that it is the same place that appears in the viral video.
  • An article published on August 5, 2011 by the Voces Católicas website states that the relics of Pope John Paul II – which include a wax statue of the late pontiff, the same one that appears in the viral video – would arrive in Mexico City that month and travel for four months through various dioceses in the country.
  • The first non-Italian pope in 455 years, John Paul II was born in Poland in 1920 and headed the Roman Catholic Church from October 16, 1978 until his death on April 2, 2005. John Paul's body was exhumed in April 2011 on the occasion of his beatification ceremony. On 27 April 2014 he was canonized a saint.