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.


California has not decriminalized theft under $400

False claim: Social media users in the United States have shared a video in which four people appear stealing items from a store, accompanied by the claim that a law recently passed in the state of California decriminalizes the theft of items with a total value of less than $400. “In California, USA, they steal and no one can do anything about it, after a law decriminalizing shoplifting under $400, which also prohibits employees from confronting anyone who tries to steal from them,” reads the caption of some of the posts.


  • Proposition 47, a ballot measure passed by California voters on November 5, 2014 and currently in effect, made some non-violent property crimes, where the value does not exceed $950, into misdemeanors.
  • According to the California Judiciary, the bill is intended to “ensure that prison spending is focused on violent and serious offenses, to maximize alternatives for non-serious, nonviolent crime.”
  • Section 459.5 of the Proposition creates a new misdemeanor offense called “shoplifting,” punishable by up to 6 months in prison. Shoplifting is defined in the text as “entering a commercial establishment with intent to commit larceny while that establishment is open during regular business hours” where the value of the property does not exceed $950.
  • According to Title 13, Chapter 5, Section 490 of the California Code of Civil Procedure, “petty theft is punishable by fine not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by imprisonment in the county jail not exceeding six months, or both.”
  • Currently under discussion in the California Senate is bill SB-553, by Democrat Senator David Cortese, which prohibits “the employer from maintaining policies that require employees who are not dedicated safety personnel to confront active shooters or suspected shoplifters.”


German ad does not ask women to not have children to protect the climate

False claim: Social media users in Europe have shared an image of a street ad poster featuring a mother with two children and the German phrase “Zukunft oder Klimakiller?” ("Future or climate killer"), accompanied by the claim that the piece was part of a campaign to convince women not to have children in order to protect the climate.


  • An internet search for the phrase “Zukunft oder Klimakiller” finds that the ad shared on social media actually promotes the documentary “Re: Kinderlos dem Klima zuliebe? Wenn Frauen in den Gebärstreik treten” (“BirthStrike: Staying Childless to Save the Planet” in its English version), broadcast by the Franco-German television station Arte on February 4, 2020.
  • Produced by German public broadcaster Rundfunk Berlin Brandenburg (RBB), the documentary talks about the so-called Birthstrike movement, founded at the end of 2018 by British musician Blythe Pepino and whose activists, in order to fight climate change, decide not to have children or to have just one.

Latin America

Video does not show Russian military helicopter chasing Prigozhin's private jet

False claim: Social media users in Latin America have shared a video of a private jet taking off on a dirt runway, accompanied in the background by what appears to be a military helicopter.

According to the posts, the images show a Russian helicopter chasing the private jet of Yevgeny Prigozhin, head of the Wagner mercenary group who staged a failed mutiny against the Kremlin last June, shortly before the aircraft crashed last Wednesday, August 23, killing all 10 people on board. According to Russian authorities, Prigozhin is one of the victims of the tragedy.


  • A reverse image search shows that the video shared on social media was published on the YouTube channel of Mexican media outlet La Gaceta on February 7, 2020. According to the video's description, the images show an aircraft seized in Guatemala while carrying 1,700 kg of cocaine.
  • A search of the Guatemalan government's website shows a statement published on January 28, 2020 which reports that the Guatemalan Army, together with the National Civil Police and the Public Prosecutor's Office, seized an aircraft carrying 1,700 kg of cocaine in the municipality of San Andrés, in the Petén region.
  • In a post on Twitter on January 27, 2020 the Guatemalan Army shared two photographs of the seized aircraft, whose details – such as the navy blue tail and registration number N818LD – match those of the aircraft that appears in the viral video.


Niger has not banned uranium exports to France and EU after military coup

False claim: After Niger's democratically elected president, Mohamed Bazoum, was ousted in a military coup last July 26, social media users in Africa have shared the claim that the country's new regime had banned uranium exports to France –of which Niger is a former colony– and other members of the European Union.


  • According to data from the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom), Niger was the second-largest supplier of natural uranium to the European Union in 2022, behind Kazakhstan. The African country exported 2,975 tons of elemental uranium (tU), which represented 25.4% of the EU's total supply that year.
  • So far, there has been no official announcement or record that the new government of Niger has decided to stop exporting uranium either to France or to any other EU country.
  • According to Euratom, even if Niger decides to stop supplies in the future, the EU's nuclear power plants have enough uranium in stock to supply their reactors for three years.