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AFP Fact Check articles of the week

September 13, 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. Hong Kong student deaths?

Photographs of letters from Hong Kong schools announcing the deaths of two students were circulated in Facebook and Twitter posts that claimed they showed students were “beaten to death” at a subway station while police arrested protesters in Kowloon on August 31. But the schools told AFP the student deaths were not related to arrests at Prince Edward subway station. The government, police, hospital authority and rail operator have all denied there were fatalities due to the arrests.

2. ‘Hidden Chinese military base’

A photo was shared hundreds of times on Facebook and Twitter alongside a claim it shows a hidden Chinese military base in the Philippines. But the photo in fact shows a tunnel in the Swiss Alps. The story about a hidden Chinese military base in the Philippines originated from a satirical article in 2016.

3. Kashmir misinformation

A video of Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan becoming irate at a press conference was circulated in multiple Facebook posts which claimed it showed him angrily abusing journalists in response to India revoking Jammu and Kashmir’s special status in August 2019. In reality, the video has nothing to do with the crisis in Kashmir — it shows Khan urging his supporters to be quiet during a press conference in 2015.

4. Hurricane Ike photo

A photo from 2008 which shows a single house that survived Hurricane Ike in a town in Texas was shared in a Facebook post which falsely claimed it shows a home that survived Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas in September 2019. The photo was taken by photographer Smiley N. Pool in Gilchrist Texas on September 14, 2008.

5. Nigerian bomb blast

A video was viewed tens of thousands of times in multiple posts on Facebook in September 2019 which claimed it shows a bomb blast at the South African embassy in Nigeria. South Africa has two main diplomatic missions in Nigeria. But neither the South Africa’s High Commission in Abuja or Consulate-General in Lagos were bombed in September 2019. The video in the misleading posts corresponds with footage of a blast at a mall in Abuja in 2014, which killed at least 21 people.







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