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.

US government data has not shown “143,233% surge” in cancer among vaccinated people

False claim: Social media users have shared an alleged news article claiming that US government data revealed a “143,233% surge in fatal cancer cases linked to COVID vaccinations”.


  • An internet search shows that the information shared on social media was originally published on August 16, 2022 by the British website The Exposé, famous for promoting anti-vaccine content and conspiracy theories about the origin of the COVID-19 pandemic. The site published the same content again on December 8, 2023.
  • The article claims that the connection between COVID-19 vaccines and an alleged surge in cancer cases can be found in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS).
  • The VAERS website, however, informs that anyone can include information in the database – including health professionals, vaccine manufacturers and the general public – and makes the following disclaimer: “VAERS reports may contain information that is incomplete, inaccurate, coincidental, or unverifiable. Reports to VAERS can also be biased. As a result, there are limitations on how the data can be used scientifically. Data from VAERS reports should always be interpreted with these limitations in mind.”
  • There is no information on the CDC website about any link between COVID-19 vaccines and an alleged surge in cancer cases. The agency, however, reinforces that the approved COVID-19 vaccines are “safe and effective.”
  • The American Cancer Society informs on its website that “there is no information that suggests that COVID-19 vaccines cause cancer” and that “there is also no information that suggests these vaccines can make cancer grow or recur.”

Image does not show Taylor Swift next to Jeffrey Epstein

False claim: After a New York judge began to unseal on January 3 the identities of people linked in court documents to Jeffrey Epstein, social media users around the world started to share a picture in which singer Taylor Swift appears, according to the posts, accompanied by the disgraced financier, arrested in July 2019 on charges of sex trafficking dozens of young girls and found dead a month later in his prison cell.


  • First, in the nearly 1,000 pages of documents linked to the Jeffrey Epstein case released by the New York judge, there is no mention of Taylor Swift’s name.
  • A reverse image search shows that the viral picture was first shared on social media in December 2021, on pages run by Taylor Swift fans, accompanied by the information that the photo shows the singer next to Monte Lipman, CEO of the American record label Republic Records – part of Universal Music Group (UMG) –, with which the artist signed a deal in 2018.

Video does not show Israeli-operated bulldozer running over civilians at Gaza hospital

False claim: Social media users around the world have shared a video of a bulldozer driving into what appears to be a group of people on the ground, accompanied by the claim that the clip shows an Israeli-operated bulldozer running over sick and injured civilians during an operation at the Kamal Adwan hospital in northern Gaza.


  • A reverse image search shows that the video shared on social media was published on August 26, 2013 on Al-Jazeera’s YouTube channel.
  • According to the description of the video, the images show a bulldozer “sweeping away dozens of bodies of victims of the massacre” that took place in Cairo's Rabaa al-Adawiya square on August 14, 2013 after the Egyptian army violently dispersed a protest against the military coup that had deposed president Mohamed Morsi in the previous month.
  • On December 12, 2023 the Israeli army in fact launched an offensive against the Kamal Adwan hospital, on the grounds that the site was used by Hamas as a “command and control center.” There are also records that Israel used a bulldozer in the area, however, there is no information that people were directly injured by the equipment.

Oslo’s new electric bus fleet has not stopped working due to freezing temperatures

False claim: Social media users in Italy have shared the claim that the severe cold snap that has hit the Nordic countries in recent days have paralyzed the fleet of electric buses recently acquired by Norway's capital, Oslo, to replace the old diesel vehicles in public transport.


  • The Nordic countries have been hit by an atypical cold snap in recent days, with -30° C being measured by a weather station in Oslo in the early hours of January 5, an all-time record for the Norwegian capital, according to local broadcaster TV2.
  • Speaking to Euronews, a spokesperson for Ruter, the company that operates the electric buses in Oslo, called the claims on social media “an extreme exaggeration.” “We cancelled, on average, between 50 and 100 departures, out of more than 4,000 daily departures, for a few days.”
  • The spokesman also informed that the company indeed faced some “challenges with the range of the buses being shorter in cold weather,” which was sorted out “by changing the charging shifts” and “fixing the charging infrastructure.” According to the company, the problems have now been fixed and the electric bus fleet is running as usual.

Images do not show “people kidnapped in the Quito Metro”

False claim: Social media users in Latin America and Spain have shared pictures of dozens of people lying on the ground at gunpoint by hooded and apparently armed men on a subway station platform, accompanied by the claim that the images were taken in Quito, amid the wave of violence that has hit Ecuador in recent days and led the government of President Daniel Noboa to declare a state of emergency.


  • A reverse image search shows that the same images appear in a video published in August 2023 on the TikTok account of the Ecuadorian digital newspaper Extra.
  • According to the post, the images show the simulation of a biological attack carried out that day by the National Police at the Magdalena metro station in Quito.
  • In a post on January 9 on its official account on X, the Quito Metro said that the images circulating on social media were taken out of context and show a simulation that took place in 2023. The same statement was also shared on January 9 by the Ecuadorian National Police on their Facebook account.