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.


No evidence directed energy weapons caused fires in Hawaii

False claim: Social media users around the world have shared the claim that the recent devastating fires on the island of Maui in Hawaii, leaving at least 100 people dead, were caused by “directed energy weapons” (DEW). Some posts provide as proof of this claim images of alleged laser beams starting the fires.


  • A reverse image search shows that the images shared on social media are actually old and were not even recorded in Hawaii.
  • One of the images, for example, shows the launch of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Vandenberg Base in California in May 2018, while another shows a controlled burn at an oil refinery in Ohio in January 2018.
  • Although the U.S. authorities are still investigating the causes of the fire in Maui, there is no evidence that directed energy weapons were involved. At a press conference on August 9, Major General Kenneth Hara, commanding general of the Hawaii Army National Guard, said that prolonged dry conditions, along with low humidity and high winds, “set the conditions for the wildfires.”


UN did not say that Christians who don’t support pedophiles will be excluded from society

False claim: Social media users around the world have shared the claim that “UN chief” Victor Madrigal-Borloz warned that Christians who do not accept the legalization of pedophilia will be excluded from participating in society.


  • An internet search shows that the claim was originally published in an article on the website The People's Voice – previously called Your News Wire and NewsPunch –, famous for promoting misinformation and conspiracy theories.
  • The article, which has gone viral on social media, distorts recent statements by the U.N.’s independent expert on sexual orientation and gender identity, Victor Madrigal-Borloz.
  • In a report published last June, titled “Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Freedom of Religion” and presented the same month at the 53rd Session of the Human Rights Council, Madrigal-Borloz argues that freedom of religion or belief can coexist with LGBT equality.
  • Contrary to what social media posts claim, Madrigal-Borloz makes no mention of pedophilia or the acronym MAP (Minor-Attracted Person) in either the report or his presentation.
  • “The type of claim, which of course is false, that you see in that article and in similar campaigns, is part of a playbook that is actually designed to portray inclusion of LGBT people as dangerous to society (...) And which of course is not supported by any kind of evidence, but by definition is based on prejudice and discrimination,” Madrigal-Borloz told the Associated Press.


“Frog logo” does not indicate that the food contains mRNA or insects

False claim: Social media users in Europe have shared the claim that the presence of the “frog logo” – linked to the international NGO Rainforest Alliance – on food packaging indicates that the product contains messenger RNA (mRNA) or insects.


  • Founded in 1987 and present in more than 70 countries, the NGO Rainforest Alliance seeks, according to information published on its website, to build “an alliance to protect forests, improve the livelihoods of farmers and forest communities, promote their human rights, and help them mitigate and adapt to the climate crisis.”
  • According to the NGO, the Rainforest Alliance Certified logo indicates that one or more of the ingredients that make up the product – such as coffee or cocoa – has been certified as “produced using methods that support the three pillars of sustainability: social, economic, and environmental.”
  • The Rainforest Alliance also informs that the frog was chosen for the logo more than thirty years ago because these animals are “what scientists call bioindicators—meaning that a healthy population of frogs indicates a healthy environment.”

Latin America

FDA has not changed its guidance on ivermectin and now approves it for treating COVID-19

False claim: Social media users in Latin America have shared the claim that the U.S.

Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently changed its guidance on ivermectin and now recommends the drug for preventing or treating COVID-19.


  • In a statement to the Brazilian fact-checking agency Lupa, the FDA has denied changing its guidance on ivermectin or approved it for preventing or treating COVID-19.
  • The most recent information on ivermectin available on the FDA's website was published in October 2021. In the document, titled “Why You Should Not Use Ivermectin to Treat or Prevent COVID-19,” the agency states that “currently available data do not show ivermectin is effective against COVID-19” and that the drug is only approved “for human use to treat infections caused by some parasitic worms and head lice and skin conditions like rosacea.”


Video does not show Nigerian soldiers in Niger

False claim: Social media users in Africa have shared a video of military personnel in action, accompanied by the claim that the footage shows Nigerian soldiers in Niger.

The claim comes after Niger's democratically elected president Mohamed Bazoum was overthrown by a military coup on July 26.


  • A reverse image search shows that the video shared on social media was published on the YouTube channel of the Associated Press on July 21, 2015.
  • According to the description of the publication, the video was recorded in February 1998 and show soldiers from the Nigerian-led intervention force on the streets of Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone, which at the time was in the midst of a long civil war.
  • The false claim started to make the rounds after the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) approved on August 10 the deployment of a “standby force to restore constitutional order” in Niger.
  • The bloc, currently chaired by Nigeria’s President Bola Tinubu, hasn’t yet provided details of when and how the actions against the coup leaders in Niger will take place.