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.

Biden administration did not grant voting rights to 500,000 undocumented migrants

False claim: After the Department of Homeland Security announced on September 20 that about 472,000 undocumented Venezuelans who were living in the U.S. as of July 31 may be eligible for Temporary Protected Status (TPS), social media users began sharing the claim that the Biden administration was granting voting rights to some “500,000 invaders.”


  • According to information published on the website of the Department of Homeland Security, “TPS is a temporary benefit that does not lead to lawful permanent resident status or give any other immigration status.” The website also informs that, once the TPS is granted, the beneficiary cannot be detained by the Department of Homeland Security on the basis of their immigration status in the United States.
  • Under federal law, only U.S. citizens can vote in federal elections, and TPS beneficiaries do not automatically become U.S. citizens.
  • When announcing the measure on September 20, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas said that the U.S. government's decision was made “based on Venezuela’s increased instability and lack of safety due to the enduring humanitarian, security, political, and environmental conditions.

Video does not show Barcelona residents facing violence from asylum seekers

False claim: Social media users in Europe have shared a video of a brawl, accompanied by the claim that the footage shows residents of the Spanish city of Barcelona facing an alleged wave of violence caused by asylum seekers.


  • A reverse image search shows that the same video was shared by the Catalan newspaper El Periódico, in an article published on August 10. According to the text, 12 people were arrested in the brawl, which took place on July 23 in an area of bars in the town of Sitges known as Carrer del Pecat, or Sin Street.
  • In a statement published on August 10, the Mossos d'Esquadra, the Catalan police, said that the fight had started outside one of the nightclubs on the street, involving security guards and customers who wanted to enter the premises.
  • According to the Catalan police, those involved in the fight are not foreigners or asylum seekers, but residents of the nearby town of Garraf, six of whom have police records.

Times Square billboard displaying Zelensky's face and the text “Glory to Urine” is doctored

False claim: Social media users around the world have shared a video showing a billboard in New York's Times Square allegedly with the image of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and the phrase “Glory to Urine” written on a background in the colors of the Ukrainian flag.

According to the posts, the message was shown during Zelensky's visit to the city this month for the UN General Assembly.


  • In a statement to Reuters, AFP and Politifact, Erin Watkins, general counsel for Big Outdoor, the company responsible for the billboard on the corner of West 42nd Street and Eighth Avenue, said that the viral image is “100 percent fake” and never appeared on the billboard.
  • According to Google Street View, the scaffolding that appears in the viral video was present on the site in images from September 2022, but had already been removed in August 2021. Social media users in New York posted photos and videos on September 21 showing that there was no scaffolding at the site. Apart from that, the viral video does not show a McDonald's restaurant, which opened on the site at the end of 2022.
  • As for the Fox News Digital logo that appears in the upper right-hand corner of the viral image, the network told the press that it was not responsible for publishing the video.

The Pope and Bill Clinton have not called for “urgent depopulation” to save the planet

False claim: Social media users in Europe have shared the claim that Pope Francis and former President Bill Clinton have recently called for “urgent depopulation” to save the planet from climate change.


  • An internet search shows that the claim was originally published on September 24 in an article on the website The People's Voice – previously called Your News Wire and NewsPunch –, famous for promoting misinformation and conspiracy theories.
  • Although the headline states that Pope Francis and Bill Clinton called for an “urgent depopulation,” the text does not explain where and when this statement was made.
  • The text does, however, cite a recent meeting between the pontiff and the former president during the Clinton Global Initiative 2023, an event organized by the Clinton Foundation and held on September 18 and 19 in New York.
  • The full transcript of the conversation between Bill Clinton and Pope Francis, available on the Clinton Global Initiative website, shows that both spoke during the meeting about the challenges of climate change, but that at no point did they called for an “urgent depopulation” as a solution to this global crisis.

Mass fish death in Malaysia not caused by Fukushima wastewater

False claim: Social media users in Asia have shared a Chinese-language video of a mass fish death off the coast of Penang in northern Malaysia, accompanied by the claim that the incident was caused by the recent release into the Pacific Ocean of wastewater from Japan's Fukushima nuclear power plant.


  • A reverse image search shows that the video shared on social media is part of a news report by Malaysia's state broadcaster RTM published on August 28, 2023 and available on the network's Facebook page. The report, however, does not mention Fukushima at any point.
  • In a post on its official Facebook page on August 30, the Penang Fisheries Department said that the episode was caused by a large algae bloom, which led to low levels of dissolved oxygen in the water, suffocating the fish.
  • The Japanese government's decision to dump more than 1 million metric tons of treated radioactive wastewater from the Fukushima nuclear power plant into the Pacific has generated strong criticism from neighboring countries such as South Korea and China. The process, however, was deemed safe by the U.N.'s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).