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AFP Fact Check articles of the week

August 16, 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. Boy harassed over mass shooting meme

A meme claims to highlight the physical similarities of the men who carried out recent mass shootings in the United States. However, one image was taken from the Twitter profile of a 15-year-old boy from the US state of Ohio who has the same name as the perpetrator, but has nothing to do with the shooting in Dayton. He has faced online harassment as a result.

2. Kashmir tensions: old images resurface

After the Indian government revoked the semi-autonomous status of Kashmir, old videos and pictures of the disputed region began circulating online again alongside misleading claims, including an award-winning photo from 2016.

3. Tear gas at a Hong Kong station

As Hong Kong’s protests rumbled on, a video viewed tens of thousands of times claimed that police did not fire tear gas at protesters in a subway station on August 11. But a close analysis of the video showed the contrary — and police confirmed that they had indeed fired tear gas.

4. Torture of a Palestinian boy?

A video showing a man pinning a boy on the ground was found circulating on Twitter and Facebook, purporting to show a Palestinian boy being tortured to death by an Israeli policeman. In reality, it showed a boy being restrained by private security guards at a Swedish train station in 2015.

5. Firing blanks

Videos of a man shooting himself repeatedly in the mouth with different guns, while remaining unharmed, have been viewed tens of thousands of times on Facebook. AFP filmed a demonstration with a forensic ballistics expert to show that the man was firing blanks rather than live ammunition. Another firearms expert called the man’s behaviour “incredibly dangerous”, warning that children could be seriously hurt trying to copy him.







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