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AFP Fact Check articles of the week

August 9, 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. Kashmir protest videos

After India stripped the disputed Kashmir region of its autonomy and imposed a near-total communications blackout this week, the internet was flooded with misinformation. Old videos reappeared alongside misleading claims. For example, 2018 footage of a funeral procession which was misrepresented in viral posts as showing protests against India’s recent actions in the disputed region.

2. Needle to treat stroke?

Claims that pricking a stroke victim in the ear and fingertips with a needle could save their lives have been circulating for years, most recently through a wave of new Facebook posts in Africa. The posts attribute the advice to “Chinese medicine and professors”. AFP spoke to medical professionals practising both Chinese and Western medicine, who told us the advice was unfounded — and that it was dangerous, as it could encourage people to delay urgent treatment for a stroke victim.

3. Hong Kong ’emergency broadcast’

Multiple social media posts shared a purported “emergency broadcast” about a 12-hour period when “any and all crime, including murder, will be legal” in protest-hit Hong Kong. The broadcast was entirely fictional — the text of the warning was taken from an announcement featured in the 2013 American horror film “The Purge”.

4. ‘Allahu Akbar’ at Trump rally?

A video of the Secret Service surrounding Donald Trump at a rally was viewed nearly a million times in social media posts which claimed it showed a security scare after an audience member shouted “Allahu Akbar” — meaning God is Great in Arabic. The video had been doctored to add audio saying “Allahu Akbar”, according to a comparison with news footage of the March 2016 incident.

5. Famous Hong Kong cat tear-gassed?

A photo was shared thousands of times in multiple posts on Twitter and Facebook which claimed that Brother Cream, a Hong Kong cat with more than 40,000 Instagram followers, was tear-gassed by police during the city’s recent pro-democracy demonstrations. The claim is false. The photo shows a different cat who was affected by the protests — Brother Cream’s owner told AFP that the popular feline was unharmed.







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