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.


French government has not announced internet shutdown amid riots

False claim: Amid violent protests in France after a 17-year-old delivery driver was shot and killed by a police officer in the Paris suburb of Nanterre, social media users around the world have shared an alleged official statement from the French Interior Ministry announcing “temporary restrictions” on internet access in “specific neighborhoods” during the night to “prevent any form of violence and disturbance.”


  • On the morning of July 2, the French Interior Ministry published an official statement on its Twitter account claiming that the document circulating on social media is false and that no decision on restricting internet access has been made.
  • The false claim was also debunked by France's Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs in a post on its Twitter account on the morning of July 3.
  • A search on the French Interior Ministry's website does not find any official statement announcing the alleged restrictions on internet access in the country.
  • On July 4, during a meeting with more than 250 mayors of French towns affected by the ongoing violence, French President Emmanuel Macron accused social media platforms like Snapchat, TikTok and Telegram of contributing to the unrest in the country and suggested: “We need to think about how young people use social networks, in the family, at school, the interdictions there should be … and when things get out of hand we may have to regulate them or cut them off.” On Wednesday, however, government ministers insisted that Macron was not threatening a “general blackout” but rather a temporary suspension of some functions of these platforms.

More on the riots in France

In addition to the fake statement announcing restrictions on internet access, social media users have also shared a series of images supposedly linked to the recent riots in France.

Library on fire

False claim: One of the images shows a building on fire, alongside the claim that “the biggest library in France” was burnt down by rioters.

Truth: A reverse image search shows that the building that appears in the images is actually the Manila Central Post Office in the Philippines, which caught fire in May 2023 leaving seven people injured.

Wild animals running through streets

False claim: Posts have shared videos of wild animals – such as elephants, ostriches, zebras, lions and rhinos – running through the streets, alongside the claim that they were released from a French zoo by rioters.

Truth: A reverse image search shows that all the images of wild animals were originally posted on social media prior to the recent protests, many of them showing scenes that took place outside France, in countries such as China, Japan, the Czech Republic, Nepal, Germany, and England.

Louis Vuitton store being looted

False claim: A video showing a crowd storming a Louis Vuitton store was shared alongside the claim that the clip shows rioters looting a store in Paris.

Truth: A reverse image search shows that the video has been circulating on the web since May 2020 and shows a group of protesters in Portland, Oregon, following the murder of George Floyd.


NASA has not issued an alert that a solar storm can cause an “internet apocalypse”

False claim: Social media users around the world have shared the claim that NASA has issued an alert informing about the possibility of a future severe solar storm causing an “internet apocalypse”, leaving people without internet connection for months.

Some of the posts attribute the information to an alleged discovery made by NASA's Parker Solar Probe.


  • Launched on August 12, 2018 the Parker Solar Probe's mission, according to NASA, is to “expand our knowledge of the origin and evolution of the solar wind” by traveling “through the Sun’s atmosphere, closer to the surface than any spacecraft before it.”
  • One of the things NASA says on its page about the Parker Solar Probe mission is that disturbances in the solar wind can “change the orbits of satellites, shorten their lifetimes, or interfere with onboard electronics.”
  • NASA, however, makes no alert of a supposed “internet apocalypse” caused by solar storms on its pages and documents about the Parker Solar Probe mission, or indeed in any other space on its website or on its social media accounts.
  • According to data published by NASA and the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the scientific community has long been aware that solar activity cycles usually last about 11 years, with the last point of minimal activity having occurred in December 2019 and the next peak – called Solar Cycle 25 – expected to occur in 2025.
  • “While we are not predicting a particularly active Solar Cycle 25, violent eruptions from the Sun can occur at any time,” said Doug Biesecker, Ph.D., solar physicist at NOAA's Space Weather Prediction Center, in a report published on NOAA's website.


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

False claim: Social media users in the United States have shared a video in which anti-vaccine activist and Democratic U.S.

presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. makes the following statement during an interview: “I think a lot of the problems we see in kids, and particularly boys, it's probably underappreciated how much of that is coming from chemical exposures, including a lot of the sexual dysphoria that we’re seeing.” Kennedy then 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, concluding: “If it’s doing that to frogs, there’s a lot of other evidence that it’s doing it to human beings as well.”


  • First, contrary to what Robert F. Kennedy Jr. states, the correct medical term is “gender dysphoria,” not “sexual dysphoria.” According to the American Psychiatric Association, gender dysphoria is a “psychological distress that results from an incongruence between one’s sex assigned at birth and one’s gender identity” and it’s not an indication of any mental disorder.
  • Created in 1958, atrazine is a herbicide that has been widely used for decades in corn, soy, rice and cotton crops 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.
  • Although research suggests that atrazine exposure can cause various health issues in humans, ranging from reproductive problems to kidney disease and higher body mass index, no studies have found any connection between atrazine exposure and gender dysphoria in humans.
  • In statements to Politifact, Tyrone B. Hayes, co-author of the study cited by Kennedy and a professor at University of California, Berkeley’s Department of Integrative Biology, said: “There are no data to really make that link. That's speculation.”


Former OSCE observer did not reveal a child organ harvesting plot in Ukraine

False claim: Social media users in Europe have shared a video in which an alleged former observer of the OSCE’s (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe) Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) in Ukraine named Vera Vaiman claims to have found evidence between 2019 and 2022 of the existence of a network of secret laboratories in Ukraine in which children's organs were removed to be sold on the black market.

In addition to the interview with Vera Vaiman, the video features footage of a doctor in an operating room placing a plastic bag with what appears to be a human organ in a cooler with the words “Human Organ for Transplantation.”


  • A reverse image search shows that the video was originally posted on June 9, 2023 by a YouTube and Telegram profile called Росссия - это я! (Russia - it's me!), famous for promoting pro-Kremlin propaganda.
  • In a statement to the Czech fact-checking agency Demagog, an OSCE spokesperson said that no one named Vera Vaiman (or Vera Nikulina, as some posts highlighted that she used to call herself) was ever an employee of the organization.
  • A search on the OSCE website shows that there is no report that proves the alleged existence of secret laboratories in Ukraine for the trafficking of children's organs.
  • Regarding the image of the doctor appearing in the video, the cooler bears the logo of the Kyiv Heart Institute, a flagship of Ukrainian cardiology and cardiac surgery.
  • The same images can be found in a video posted on December 23, 2022 on the YouTube page of Ukrainian surgeon Boris Todurov, director of the Heart Institute. Speaking to AFP, Todurov said the clip shows him performing a transplant at the hospital.