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.


The destruction of a church in Ukraine after a Russian airstrike was not staged

False claim: Social media users around the world have shared a clip from a Sky News broadcast about the destruction of the Transfiguration Cathedral in Odesa, Ukraine, following a Russian airstrike on July 23. In the images it is possible to see two women carrying debris from the church. According to the posts, the fact that the women are effortlessly lifting “heavy concrete stones” is proof that the attack on the cathedral was staged.


  • A reverse image search shows that the footage broadcast by Sky News was originally produced and published by Iraq-based media network Rudaw on July 23.
  • Available on Rudaw's YouTube page, the original and higher-quality video clearly shows that the “heavy concrete stones” carried by the two women are in fact nothing more than polystyrene-like material, used in construction for acoustic and thermal insulation.
  • Also in the video published by Rudaw, it is possible to hear the reporter inform that local residents promptly volunteered to help clean up the rubble after the Russian airstrike.
  • Reports published in several international news agencies, such as Reuters, AFP and AP, inform that the Russian airstrike on Odesa in the early hours of July 23 killed at least one person and injured other 20, severely damaging 25 historical landmarks across the city, including the Transfiguration Cathedral, a UNESCO World Heritage site.


Viral video does not show three UFOs spotted over New Mexico or Nevada

False claim: Social media users in the United States have shared a video just over a minute long that shows three UFOs crossing the skies at dusk.

According to the posts, the images were allegedly recorded in Nevada or New Mexico.


  • A reverse image search shows that the video was originally published on July 29, 2023 by an Instagram and TikTok user named @iceman_fox1.
  • In the description accompanying the video, the author, who describes himself on his accounts as a creator of “realistic DCS videos,” explains that the clip was created using the flight simulation game “Digital Combat Simulator” (DCS).
  • @iceman_fox1's TikTok and Instagram accounts have several other videos created on DCS.


Heat records have not been broken recently after European Space Agency switched to measuring land surface temperature instead of air temperature

False claim: Social media users in Europe have shared the claim that heat records broken this year during summer are due to the fact that the European Space Agency (ESA) allegedly started to measure land surface temperature instead of air temperature.


  • In a statement to Spanish fact-checking agency Newtral, a spokesperson for the ESA said the agency is not responsible for monitoring or recording heat records. “What we do is monitor the Earth from space,” they said.
  • In a post on its website on July 31, the United Nations World Meteorological Organization (WMO) reported that on July 6 “the daily average global mean surface air temperature surpassed the record set in August 2016, making it the hottest day on record.”
  • Also according to WMO, always based on air temperature data, the first three weeks of July have been the warmest three-week period on record.


Pope Francis did not say that it is necessary to sacrifice “alcoholics, autistic and disabled people” to “fight climate change”

False claim: Social media users in Brazil have shared a claim that Pope Francis recently said it is necessary to sacrifice “alcoholics, autistic and disabled people” to “fight climate change.” Some of the posts are accompanied by an alleged news piece, according to which the “plan” was created by the World Economic Forum and supported by the Catholic Church.


  • A search of the Vatican's official website and the pope's social media accounts finds no record of the alleged statement.
  • The article shared in some of the social media posts, published by a website dedicated to promoting conspiracy theories and anti-vaccine content, does not inform when and where Pope Francis would have made the alleged statement, nor does it provide any audio or video evidence.
  • On several occasions in recent years Pope Francis has expressed his opposition to euthanasia, the most recent being last May, on the occasion of the approval by the Portuguese parliament of a decree on medically assisted death. “Today I am very sad, because in the country where Our Lady appeared, a law to kill has been passed. One more step in the great list of countries that have approved euthanasia,” the Pope said.


Video does not show a man jumping to his death at an airport in London to avoid being deported to Nigeria

False claim: Social media users in Nigeria have shared a video of a man jumping from the second floor of an airport, alongside the claim that the clip was recorded at London's Heathrow Airport and shows a Nigerian national committing suicide to avoid being deported to his home country.


  • A reverse image search shows that the video shared on social media was originally published in some press articles in the U.S. in March 2018.
  • According to the reports, the clip was recorded at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta, Georgia, and shows a passenger who jumped from the second floor of Concourse D after arguing with other people in front of a bar. According to police, the passenger appeared to be intoxicated.
  • The articles also report that the man, whose nationality was not disclosed, was taken to a hospital after suffering “serious injuries” and faced charges of disorderly conduct and intoxication.