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.

Video does not show Aleksey Navalny asking British spy for millions of dollars

False claim: Social media users in Europe have shared a black and white video from an alleged hidden camera in which two men appear talking in English in a restaurant.

According to the posts, one of the men in the video is Russian dissident Aleksey Navalny – who died in prison last Friday, February 16 –, who allegedly appears in the footage asking British secret agent James William Thomas Ford 10 to 20 million dollars a year to start a “color revolution” in Russia.


  • A reverse image search shows that the video shared on social media was originally published on February 1, 2021 by Russian broadcaster RT, funded by the Kremlin and banned from the EU in 2022, following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, for spreading disinformation and propaganda.
  • The RT article reports that the footage, recorded by the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB), shows a meeting that took place in 2012 in a Moscow café between Vladimir Ashurkov, executive director of Alexey Navalny's anti-corruption organization FBK, and a British embassy official in Moscow named James William Thomas Ford. According to RT, the information that Ford was an undercover agent for MI6 – the British secret service – was just an unconfirmed assumption by the FSB.
  • “If we had more money, we would expand our opportunities, of course. A little money... If somebody would spend, I don't know, 10, 20 million dollars a year on supporting this, we would see quite a different picture. And this is not a big amount of money for people who have billions at stake. So that's the message that I'm trying to project in my fundraising efforts and talking to people in the business community and so on. We need to play on different chessboards. Mass protests, civil initiatives, propaganda, establishing contacts with the elite and explaining to them that we are reasonable people, and we're not going to demolish everything and take their assets, things like that,” Ashurkov says in the recording. The audio gives no indication that he was looking for money for a “colour revolution,” but merely seeking funding for the FBK's activities.
  • A former lawyer and opposition leader in Russia, Navalny died, according to Russian officials, after a walk in the Polar Wolf penal colony in Kharp, some 1,200 miles north-east of Moscow, where he was serving a three-decade prison sentence. On Saturday, February 17, Navalny's mother was informed that her son died of “sudden death syndrome” – a vague term for different cardiac syndromes that cause sudden cardiac arrest and death – and that his body would not be handed over to his family until an investigation was completed.

Image does not show Egyptian tanks being taken to the Israel border in 2024

False claim: After Israel announced that, if the hostages held by Hamas are not released by the start of Ramadan on March 10, it will expand its military offensive to the town of Rafah, in southern Gaza and near the closed border with Egypt, social media users have shared a picture of trucks carrying tanks, accompanied by the claim that the image shows an Egyptian military mobilization close to the border with Israel.


  • A reverse image search shows that the picture shared on social media was originally published in different articles by international media outlets on August 21, 2012 accompanied by a credit to the Associated Press.
  • The image was published in the AP archive on August 28, 2012 accompanied by the following description: “In this Aug. 9, 2012 file photo, army trucks carry Egyptian military tanks in El Arish, Egypt's northern Sinai Peninsula.”
  • According to the articles published at the time, the move sparked criticism from Israel, which accused the Egyptian government of violating the terms of the peace treaty signed by the two countries in 1978, demanding their withdrawal from the demilitarized region.

It is false that Beyoncé lost almost $10 billion after a performance at an NFL game

False claim: Social media users have shared a claim that Beyoncé allegedly lost almost $10 billion after singing the “Black National Anthem” at an NFL game.


  • An internet search shows that the claim was originally published on September 12, 2023 in an alleged news article on a website called SpaceXMania. The text claims that Beyoncé sang "Lift Every Voice and Sing" during an NFL match, without specifying when this happened.
  • In its “About Us” section, SpaceXMania writes the following disclaimer: “Every single article on our site is about as real as a unicorn sipping on a rainbow smoothie. They’re pure fantasy, folks, not a snapshot of reality.”
  • Beyoncé sang “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” often referred to as "The Black National Anthem" and used as a rallying cry during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s, at the Coachella music festival in 2018. There is no record of her singing the song at an NFL game.

There is no evidence that Pope Francis told Catholics to “eat whatever you want” during Lent

False claim: Social media users around the world have shared the claim that Pope Francis recently told Catholics to “eat whatever you want” during Lent, because “the sacrifice is not in the mouth nor the stomach, but in the heart!” Some of the posts claim that the pontiff's statement was made last Ash Wednesday, which marks the beginning of the Catholic Church's 40-day period of fasting and abstinence before Easter.


  • A search on the Vatican website, which publishes transcripts of the pope's official events, indicates that in none of the four events held last Ash Wednesday did the pontiff make the statement circulating on social media.
  • The statement also doesn't appear in his official message for Lent 2024, published on the Vatican website on February 1, nor in any of his previous messages for this date since the beginning of his pontificate in 2013.
  • An internet search shows that the same false claim was shared on social media on the occasion of Easter last year. The official transcript of his Easter message in 2023, as well as all the messages from his previous years as pontiff, contained no message to Catholics to “eat whatever you want.”

Image does not show Ivory Coast goalkeeper wearing black magic amulet during the AFCON finals

False claim: Social media users in Nigeria have shared a picture of a goalkeeper with a black object tied to his lower back, alongside the claim that the image shows the Ivorian goalkeeper wearing a black magic amulet under his shirt during the African Cup of Nations final soccer match on February 11, in which the Ivory Coast won the title by beating Nigeria 2-1.


  • A reverse image search shows that the picture shared on social media has been circulating on the web since at least September 18, 2023 when it was published on an Instagram account. The caption of the post, written in Swahili, criticises the use of black magic in African soccer, without specifying who the goalkeeper in the image is.
  • A search for the words “ASC Jaraaf,” written on the back of the goalkeeper's jersey in the viral image, shows that it is from the Association Sportive et Culturelle Jaraaf, a professional soccer club in Dakar, the capital of Senegal.
  • A post made on November 20, 2023 on the official ASC Jaraaf Instagram account shows a goalkeeper wearing the same blue jersey with the number 16 that appears in the viral image.
  • Ivorian goalkeeper Yahia Fofan, who plays for French club Angers, wore a black jersey with the number one during this year’s African Cup of Nations final.