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.

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'Crisis actors' in Gaza

In recent years, social media has been used on several occasions to spread the “crisis actors” conspiracy theory, according to which many of the pictures and videos of recent major tragedies actually show actors pretending to be victims or survivors in order to manipulate public opinion, along with questions about whether these tragedies really happened.

Examples range from the countless mass shooting attacks in the U.S., to the COVID-19 pandemic, where the overcrowding of hospitals and high death toll were called into question, and the conflict between Ukraine and Russia, where baseless doubts were raised about various war crimes, like the Bucha massacre.

Since October 7, when the current conflict between Israel and Hamas started, this conspiracy theory has been widely shared on the web to challenge the scale of the humanitarian tragedy in Gaza, often accompanied by the term Pallywood – a blend of Palestine and Hollywood – a conspiracy theory coined in the early 2000s by the American historian Richard Landes to indicate an alleged manipulation of public opinion by the Palestinians after a disputed shooting of a boy happened during the Second Intifada.

Below, we debunk four of these false claims that have been making the rounds on social media in recent days.

Girl covered in dust being rescued by three different men

False claim: Pictures of a girl covered in dust being rescued by three different men from a ruined building were shared as alleged evidence that Palestinians are staging rescue operations and fabricating images of victims amid Israel's attacks on Gaza.

Truth: A reverse image search shows that the three images shared were taken on August 27, 2016 in Aleppo, Syria, by then AFP photographer Ameer al-Halbi, following an airstrike that left at least 15 dead. In a video published by AFP in October 2022, Al-Halbi explains that the images show a rescue worker from the Syrian White Helmets humanitarian organization and two other volunteers who were helping to carry the victims to vehicles that could take them to hospital.

Victim wrapped in a white sheet, sitting and looking at a phone

False claim: A picture of a person wrapped head-to-toe in a white sheet, sitting and looking at a phone was shared along with the claim that the image was evidence of an actor pretending to be a victim of the Israeli attacks in Gaza.

Truth: A reverse image search shows that the picture is part of a set of images published by a Facebook account on October 29, 2022 showing two children in costume for a Halloween contest held at the Central Korat shopping mall in Thailand. Another image of the two children in the same costumes was published on the mall's Facebook page on October 26, 2023 inviting entries for this year’s edition of the Halloween costume contest.

Palestinian blogger “miraculously healed in one day”

False claim: Two videos have been shared side by side on social media in recent days. In one, a man appears seriously wounded in a hospital bed. In the other, a man speaks to a camera while walking through wreckage in Gaza. According to the posts, the images show the same man, but the video in the hospital was allegedly recorded a day before the video of him walking through the wreckage.

Truth: A reverse image search shows that the video of the man walking through the wreckage was originally published on October 25 on the Instagram account of Saleh Aljafarawi, a Gaza resident who has been posting several videos about the humanitarian crisis in the region for weeks.

The video of the man in a hospital bed has been circulating on social media since at least August 18, when it was published on TikTok, accompanied by the hashtag “Nour_Shams_Camp_,” in reference to a refugee camp in the West Bank. A report by the International Solidarity Movement published on August 25 features an image of the same man, identified as Mohammed Zendiq, 16, who had a leg amputated after being injured in a clash with the Israeli occupation forces.

Palestinians applying makeup to simulate injuries

False claim: Social media users have shared a video showing men and women having fake blood applied to their faces, legs and arms to simulate injuries.

According to the posts, the images show Palestinians pretending to be victims of recent Israeli attacks.

Truth: A reverse image search shows that the clip shared on social media is part of a video published in March 2017 on the Turkish broadcaster TRT World's YouTube page. According to the news report, the images show Palestinian makeup artist Mariam Salah working on a documentary by the international humanitarian organization Doctors of the World about the dangers faced by Gaza residents.


Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has not surrendered to Russia

False claim: Social media users around the world have started to share on Saturday, November 4, a black and white image of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, accompanied by the claim that he has surrendered, just a few months shy of the two-year anniversary of Russia's invasion.


  • Contrary to what the viral posts claim, there are no credible reports that Zelensky has surrendered to Russia, either on official Ukrainian government channels or in the world's major news agencies.
  • In recent days, there have been reports of several clashes between Russian and Ukrainian troops, such as the missile attack carried out by Ukrainian forces on Saturday, November 4, which damaged a Russian military vessel in a shipyard in the port city of Kerch, in Russian-annexed Crimea.
  • In an interview on Sunday, November 5, with NBC's “Meet the Press”, Zelensky rejected claims that the war with Russia has reached a stalemate.