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AFP Fact Check articles of the week

July 12, 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. Plastic rivers

A viral meme claims that 95 percent of plastic debris in the world’s oceans comes from just 10 rivers — all of which are in Asia or Africa. But the figure is an incorrect interpretation of a 2017 scientific study.

2. Tall man dies

Multiple Twitter and Facebook posts claimed that Pakistan’s second tallest man, Naseer Soomro, had died. But AFP spoke to Sumro by phone. “I am alive and speaking to you and I don’t understand what people get from spreading such false news,” he said.

3. Burqa arrest

Indian Facebook posts shared a picture they claimed showed Australian police arresting a woman for wearing a burqa. The claim is false — the picture is actually a 2015 AFP photograph of an alleged Islamic State group recruiter who was arrested in Spain.

4. Bear cave

Graphic images of a man covered in blood, sores and dirt appeared in news reports worldwide which claimed they showed a man who was rescued after spending a month in a bear cave in Russia. The images actually showed a man with a chronic skin disease receiving treatment in Kazakhstan.

5. Trump Hotel Banner

A viral video purported to show a Greenpeace banner saying: “CONCENTRATION CAMPS” hanging on the side of the Trump International Hotel in Las Vegas. But, the video is fake — the man who shot the footage told AFP he had doctored it to include the banner; Greenpeace said the video was fake and denied any involvement.

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

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

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

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

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

bur/ceb/rma

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