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. Down below, we also have a new section in which we will focus every week on different false claims linked specifically to the elections taking place across the world this year and the false narratives created using AI tools.

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.

There are no polls to support Trump's claim that 82% of Americans think the 2020 election was rigged

False claim: During a rally on March 2 in Greensboro, North Carolina, former President Donald Trump claimed that a recent poll indicated that 82% of Americans think the 2020 presidential election was rigged.

“What happened at that last election is a disgrace, and we're not going to let it happen again,” Trump said during the event.


  • An internet search shows that there is no recent poll that corroborates Trump's statement that 82% of Americans believe the 2020 election was rigged.
  • Among the most recent surveys, one carried out last December by the Washington Post and the University of Maryland indicates that 36% of respondents believe that Biden's victory was illegitimate. A similar result was presented by a poll conducted last August by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, according to which “seven in 10 [respondents] say that Biden was legitimately elected president (...) But among Republicans, 57% say Biden's election was illegitimate.”
  • Since Trump's defeat at the end of 2020, the only survey that comes close to the former president's statement is a poll conducted in 2021 by the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI), a public opinion research firm, according to which 82% of Republican voters who said they trust Fox News more than any other media outlet believed the election was stolen from Trump. Among all the people surveyed, regardless of their political orientation, this figure fell to 31%.
  • Ever since he was defeated at the polls by Joe Biden, Trump has been peddling the false claim that the 2020 election was rigged. In more than 60 lawsuits challenging the outcome of the election, the former president and his allies have failed to prove any irregularity.

Marjorie Taylor Greene did not publish that “atheists are using satellites to intercept prayer to Jesus”

False claim: Social media users in the United States have shared a screenshot of an alleged post on X by U.S.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, in which the congresswoman apparently claims that “atheists are using satellites to intercept prayer to Jesus.” The publication is accompanied by a flier titled “Christians Against Satellites,” which states, among other things, that “satellites interfere with our ability to effectively communicate with God” and “interfere with the flight paths of angels.”


  • Although Marjorie Taylor Greene, a staunch Trump supporter, is famous for sharing disinformation, even being punished by the U.S. Congress in 2021 for supporting conspiracy theories, there is no record that the viral post was published on her X account (or in fact on any of her social media accounts).
  • A reverse image search shows that the same flier titled “Christians Against Satellites” was apparently originally shared on X on December 10, 2023 by a satirical account called @PastorAlexLove.

US general not killed by Hamas in Gaza

False claim: Social media users around the world have shared a picture of a soldier in combat fatigues wearing a helmet and sunglasses, accompanied by the claim that the image shows “General Havery Skidder, commander of the US Delta Force,” who was allegedly killed in a Hamas ambush in Gaza, along with his “his unit of joint Israeli-US forces.”


  • A reverse image search shows that the picture shared on social media was included in a photo gallery accompanying an article published by the Associated Press in August 2021, titled “US friends try to rescue brother in arms in Afghanistan.”
  • The image caption identifies the man in combat fatigues as US Special Forces officer Ryan Brummond, seen in Afghanistan. A search for Ryan Brummond's name on the web finds that he is currently listed as a pediatrics resident physician at the Medical College of Georgia.
  • On March 5, Pentagon press secretary Pat Ryder said that “there are no plans to send any US forces into Gaza.”

Video does not show directed energy weapon starting Texas wildfires

False claim: After Texas faced in recent days the largest wildfires in its history, leaving at least two people dead and more than 1 million acres of land devastated, social media users in the United States have shared a video showing what appear to be a green laser beaming down behind a house at night.

The posts suggest that the images were recorded in Texas and show a directed energy weapon starting the recent wildfires in the state.


  • A reverse image search shows that the viral video was originally published on TikTok, Instagram and Facebook on December 31, 2023 on the accounts of a user named Antonio Williams, who describes himself as a “video creator.”
  • The caption of the posts, made almost two months before the start of the Texas wildfires, warns that the images are “for educational purposes only.” In other posts on his accounts, the user shares videos with clear signs of digital manipulation, such as a UFO flying over a city and a dragon following an airplane.
  • While the Texas authorities investigate the causes of the wildfires, landowners in the affected region have filed lawsuits against a local energy company, arguing that a falling utility pole started the fires.

AI and fake news

by David Mazzucchi

Photos of Trump posing with black people that have widely circulated online are AI-generated

False claim: Two photos of Donald Trump posing with black people, posted online by his supporters, have been widely shared and viewed online.

One was posted on X (formerly Twitter) on January 9th by an account called “Shaggy”, which depicts Trump posing with young black men on a stoop, claiming that Trump “[stopped] his motorcade to take pictures with young men that waved him down.” The post garnered more than a million views. The other picture, posted on Facebook by conservative radio host Mark Kaye on November 29th 2023, shows Trump with a large group of black people, apparently celebrating Christmas. The post shows high engagement, with over 150 comments and a thousand likes.


  • The photo posted by Shaggy includes a watermark indicating the original poster’s handle, @Trump_History45 – an account that mostly posts AI-generated images of Trump in fake historical situations, like Donald Trump “on his voyage to become the first person to circumnavigate the Earth – 1522”, or in the trenches of World War I. The account declares itself a parody in the bio. The photo also shows the typical giveaways of AI fakery in small details, most notably Trump’s hands lacking the correct number of digits.
  • Mark Kaye’s photo was at the bottom of a text post about a BLM organizer from Rhode Island who had declared his support for Trump. The story is true, but the picture posted with it shows similar flaws to Shaggy’s: Trump’s fingers appear webbed on his left hand, and his right index finger sports an improbable curve. Some comments under the post point out the fakery, while others are taken in by it.
  • Both of these instances of AI misinformation were uncovered by a BBC "Panorama" investigation earlier this week. Reached for comment, Kaye stated the fact of any person being misinformed by the picture was “a problem with that person, not the post itself.” The person behind the Shaggy account on X blocked BBC journalists asking him about the AI-generated image.

AI-generated article used invented quotes from real academic

False claim: An article published on the news portal Biharprabha (Bihar a state in Eastern India) about Meta’s AI chatbot included quotes from an American academic, Dr Emily Bender.

According to the article, Dr Bender stated that “the release of BlenderBot 3 demonstrates that Meta continues to struggle with addressing biases and misinformation within its AI models.” Bender is purported to be a “leading AI ethics researcher.”


  • Dr Emily Bender is indeed an academic who speaks to media outlets fairly frequently about developments in AI, but she is not a “leading AI ethics researcher” as claimed in the Biharprabha article. Her expertise comes from the fact that she is the director of the University of Washington’s Computational Linguistics Laboratory – an entirely different field of study. Speaking to the Indian news site The Quint, who first broke the story, Dr Bender stated that she “had no record of talking to any journalist from Biharprabha.”
  • In response to an email from Dr Bender, the co-founder of Biharprabha, Abhishek Bharadwaj, admitted that the article was written using Google’s Gemini AI and that it “created this article misquoting you.” Bharadwaj explained to Dr Bender that her quote had been removed and that they had “published a retraction at the bottom of the same article.” While these changes have indeed been made to the article, the byline at the top still states that it was written by “BP Staff.” The Quint has yet to receive a response from Biharprabha or Google.