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.

Please send us tips or claims to check at this email or at this X/Twitter account @BNFactCheck. Read this page to better understand our submission guidelines.

Putin has not declared the sale of Alaska to the US in 1867 “illegal”

False claim: Social media users around the world have shared the claim that Russian President Vladimir Putin recently declared that the sale of Alaska to the United States in 1867 was “illegal.” Some of the posts share an alleged decree signed by Putin and published on January 18 as the source of the information.


  • A search on the Russian government's website indicates that the decree cited on social media is real. Its content, however, makes no mention of the territory that today represents the American state of Alaska, much less the supposed illegality of the transaction that took place in 1867.
  • In an article published on January 19, the Russian state agency Tass reported that the decree allocates funds for “the process of searching for real estate property belonging to the Russian Federation, the former Russian Empire, the former USSR,” as well as for the “‘proper registration of [property] rights’ and ‘legal protection of this property.’” The text makes no mention of Alaska.
  • Questioned on the subject during a press conference on the January 22, Vedant Patel, State Department principal deputy press secretary, commented: “I speak for all of us in the U.S. Government to say that certainly he is not getting it back.”
  • Later the same day, the former Russian president and current deputy chairman of the Russian Security Council, Dmitri Medvedev, published the following message on X, accompanied by a laughing emoji: “According to a State Department representative, Russia is not getting back Alaska, which was sold to the U.S. in the 19th century. This is it, then. And we’ve been waiting for it to be returned any day. Now war is unavoidable.”

Registered Democrats could not vote in New Hampshire Republican primary

False claim: In a series of recent statements at rallies leading up to last Tuesday’s Republican primary in the state of New Hampshire, former President Donald Trump claimed that Democrats could “infiltrate” and vote in the primary to benefit former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, his biggest rival in the race.


  • According to the New Hampshire Secretary of State's office, although undeclared voters – also called independents –, who are not affiliated with the Democratic or Republican parties, can vote in the Democratic or Republican primaries, registered Democrats are not allowed to vote in the Republican primaries.
  • Data published by the New Hampshire Department of Justice indicates that the deadline for voters to switch parties and vote in this year's presidential primaries was October 6, 2023.
  • Trump ended up defeating Nikki Haley in the New Hampshire primary and, after Florida Governor Ron DeSantis dropped out of his campaign on January 21, he emerges as the likely Republican candidate in this year's presidential elections.

Video does not show US military ship on fire after Huthi attack

False claim: Social media users in the Middle East and North Africa have shared a video of a military vessel on fire, accompanied by the claim that the footage shows the US Navy ship USS Bonhomme Richard after it was attacked in recent days in the Red Sea by Houthi rebels from Yemen.


  • A reverse image search shows that the same video that has now gone viral on the web was shared on different social media accounts on July 13, 2020.
  • A search for the name “USS Bonhomme Richard” finds a series of articles published in the American press in July 2020, reporting that the ship, which was anchored for maintenance in its home port in the city of San Diego, caught fire on July 12 after an explosion on board the ship.
  • An article published on the U.S. Navy's website states that the USS Bonhomme Richard was decommissioned in April 2021, “due to the extensive damage sustained during the July fire.”
  • Since November last year, Houthi rebels, who control much of Yemen after almost a decade of civil war in the country, have been attacking merchant ships in the Red Sea in support of Hamas amid the Israeli invasion of Gaza. In recent weeks, U.S. and British forces have carried out a series of attacks against Houthi targets in Yemen.

Images of the Eiffel Tower engulfed in flames are not real

False claim: Social media users around the world have shared images allegedly showing the Eiffel Tower in Paris engulfed in flames and smoke.


  • A quick internet search shows that different online services offering live broadcasts from the Eiffel Tower show that the monument is currently without any sign of fire damage.
  • The Eiffel Tower's official website does not record any recent fire incidents at the monument, nor does the Paris fire brigade's website, and tickets to climb the tower are still available for purchase.

China has not reclassified Coca-Cola as a cleaning product

False claim: Social media users in Spain and Latin America have shared a claim that the government of China has recently banned the sale of Coca-Cola in the country for human consumption and reclassified the drink as a “cleaning product.” The posts are accompanied by a text claiming that the changes, supposedly carried out by the “Chinese Central Committee for Food Quality,” took place after a “scientific study,” which followed a group of 500 inmates in the country over six months, showed that 75 of them died after ingesting the drink three times a day during the period.


  • An internet search shows that the claim was originally published on August 15, 2018 in an article on a Russian website called Panorama. Titled “Coca-Cola will be sold as a drain cleaner in China,” the article has the same text about the alleged “scientific study” carried out with the drink in China.
  • The website, however, is satirical. In a section called “Warning,” Panorama includes the following disclaimer: “All texts on this site are grotesque parodies of reality and are not real news.”
  • A search on the official websites of the Chinese government, including its Ministry of Health, does not turn up any results about the alleged ban on Coca-Cola for human consumption and its reclassification as a cleaning product. The same search on the website of China's state-run Xinhua agency also turns up nothing.