from a tennis player collapsing from a vaccine to Facebook banning the Lord’s Prayer
The world of information is complex – and fake stories and images are often widely shared on social media. Blasting News’ editorial staff spot the most popular hoaxes and misleading information each week to help you tell right from wrong. Here are some of the most shared misrepresentations from this week, none of which are legit.
Video does not show tennis player collapsing at Australian Open after vaccination
False declaration: Social media users have shared a video of Slovenian tennis player Dalila Jakupovic collapsing on the court during a match, alongside claims that the clip was recorded during this year’s edition from the Australian Open and shows her suffering from “adverse effects” as a result of COVID-19 vaccines.
- A reverse image search shows that the video was recorded on January 14, 2020 almost two months before the World Health Organization declared the Coronavirus a pandemic.
- Sharing the video on its YouTube page, British newspaper The Guardian reported that Jakupovic was forced to abort her Australian Open qualifying match after suffering severe coughing fits.
- The Guardian also reported that “poor air quality in Melbourne” at the time, due to “smoke from surrounding bushfires”, forced the start of the qualifying rounds to be postponed.
NASA Didn’t Hire 24 Theologians to Study Human Response to Aliens
False declaration: Social media users shared the claim that NASA hired 24 theologians to study how humans would react if the scientific community announced the discovery of extraterrestrial life.
- The rumor started spreading online after the British newspaper The Times published an article on December 23, 2021 titled “Heavens above: Nasa enrolls buyer to prepare for an alien discovery”.
- The article, however, talks about the Reverend Andrew Davison, a theologian at the University of Cambridge, who participated alongside 23 other theologians in a NASA-funded program between 2016 and 2017.
- In 2015, the space agency provided $1.1 million in funding to the Center for Theological Inquiry (CTI), a nonprofit institute in Princeton, to study the reaction of the world’s major religions to the announcement of the discovery of extraterrestrial life.
- A NASA spokesperson told Check Your Fact that the space agency “was not involved in the selection of researchers for this study, and the people who receive a NASA grant are not employees, advisors or spokespersons of the agency”.
Facebook did not ban the Lord’s Prayer
False declaration: Rumors shared on social media claim that Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has banned posts of the Lord’s Prayer because it goes against the platform’s policies.
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- In a statement to Reuters, Facebook owner Meta confirmed posting that the Lord’s Prayer does not violate the platform’s policies and is therefore still permitted.
- Facebook, on the other hand, prohibits any form of hate speech, defining it “as a direct attack on people – rather than concepts or institutions – based on what we call protected characteristics: race, ethnicity, origin nationality, disability, religious affiliation, caste, sexual orientation, sex, gender identity and serious illness”.
The video does not show the elected president of Chile, Gabriel Boric, drugged in a park
False declaration: Social media users in Latin America and Spain have shared a video of Chile’s President-elect Gabriel Boric being attacked by a group of people while sitting on a bench.
According to the posts, the clip shows Boric supporters attacking the politician after finding him drugged in a park.
- A reverse image search shows that the video shared on social media was posted by Chilean media on December 20, 2019.
- Reports released that day claimed the clip showed then-MP Gabriel Boric being attacked by a group of youths at Parque Forestal, Santiago, as part of social protests against the signing of a constitutional agreement.
- After being attacked, Boric posted the following message on his Twitter account: “Let fear never prevail over hope. May violence never intimidate conviction. We continue.”
El nuevo presidente de Chile Gabriel Boric vuelto una piltrafa humana drogado en un parque es attacked por los propios miembros de su primera linea… pic.twitter.com/OxWnn26ZH6
— P.Maden (@PMaden2) January 14, 2022
Video does not show tsunami hitting Tonga after volcanic eruption
False declaration: Twitter and Facebook users have shared a video which shows a man hitting a tree before being swept away by a strong wave, alongside the claim that the clip shows a tsunami hitting the peaceful archipelago of Tonga following the eruption of an underwater volcano on January 15.
- A reverse image search shows that the video shared on social media was originally posted to YouTube on December 6, 2021, on an account called Membayang TV.
- According to the description of the video, the clip shows the “Ombak Bono”, a tidal bore in the Kampar River of Riau Province, Indonesia.
- The tsunami that hit Tonga generated waves of 15 meters and caused unprecedented destruction in the archipelago.
Protests in Kazakhstan unrelated to alleged restrictions on unvaccinated people
False declaration: Facebook and WhatsApp users in Brazil have shared a video that claims the recent protests in Kazakhstan were sparked by an alleged decision by the country’s government to block the bank accounts of citizens who have not taken the COVID-19 vaccine. 19.
According to the clip, protesters allegedly arrested doctors and set fire to vaccination centers.
- Started on January 2, 2022, the protests in Kazakhstan were motivated by the increase in the price of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) in the country.
- On January 7, Kazakh President Kassym Jomart Tokayev posted the following message on his official Twitter account: “I have instructed the government to promptly respond to protesters’ concerns in western Kazakhstan and implement a comprehensive measures to regulate the price of liquefied liquid. petroleum gas”.
- Amid the protests, government buildings were stormed and set on fire. As of January 10, according to Interior Ministry data, 164 people had died in the protests and 8,000 had been arrested.
- There are no reports that vaccination centers have been set on fire or that doctors helping the country’s vaccination campaign have been arrested by protesters.
- There is also no record of any action by the Kazakh government targeting the bank accounts of citizens who have not taken the COVID-19 vaccine.
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