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AFP Fact Check articles of the week

June 28, 2019

AFP’s fact-check service debunks misinformation spread online. Here is a selection from around the world published on our blog this week:

1. US visa waiver

A web page falsely claims that Malaysia, along with nine other countries, has been added to the US Visa Waiver Program. But Malaysians still need to apply for a visa to visit the United States and the Malaysian foreign affairs ministry said the information on the site was “incorrect”. This is the first report published by AFP’s fact-check service in Malaysia, which launched this week.

2. Nigerian gorilla myth

If a widely shared story in Nigeria is to be believed, a very hungry gorilla swallowed 6.8 million naira ($18,900) at a zoo in Kano state. But a journalist from AFP’s Kano bureau visited the zoo and found no trace of a gorilla and managers told AFP it has not housed one in its 47-year history. Umar Yusuf, the zoo manager, said the money was stolen by armed robbers.

3. Hong Kong bank queue hoax

A video has been viewed tens of thousands of times in online posts which falsely claim it shows Hong Kong citizens queuing at Chinese banks to cancel their accounts after mass protests hit the city in June 2019. The first section of the video actually shows shoppers queuing outside a shoe shop in mainland China, and the rest of the video shows guests waiting in line at a hotel in Macau.

4. South China Sea misinformation

A photo of a ship spraying two smaller vessels with water has been shared thousands of times on Facebook alongside text stating it shows Philippine fishermen being “bombed with water cannons” in the disputed South China Sea. The image is being used in a misleading context; it actually shows Taiwanese activists being sprayed by a Japanese coast guard ship.

5. Pakistan’s PM at summit

Claims that Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan remained seated as other leaders stood to greet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a June 2019 summit in Kyrgyzstan have been shared thousands of times in multiple Facebook posts. However, Netanyahu did not attend the summit and was never scheduled to take part.

1. http://u.afp.com/MalayVisa

2. http://u.afp.com/NigerianZoo

3. http://u.afp.com/HKbanking

4. http://u.afp.com/PhWaterCannon2

5. http://u.afp.com/KhanSummit

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Dispatches from AFP concerning freedom of information, censorship and news coverage in regions where independent media is under threat.