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AFP Fact Check articles of the week

September 27, 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 protests

Photos of a group of Hong Kong primary school students wearing masks and brandishing toy guns were shared hundreds of times in multiple posts on Facebook alongside a claim that the school made students dress as pro-democracy protesters. The school told AFP the photos were taken during a school activity in early June 2019, before mass pro-democracy protests broke out in Hong Kong.

2. Greta Thunberg hoax

A widely shared image purports to show teenage climate change activist Greta Thunberg with Hungarian-born American financier George Soros. But the image has in fact been manipulated from a photo of Thunberg with former US Vice President Al Gore.

3. ‘Indian protest photos’

Four photos were shared hundreds of times on Facebook alongside a claim that they showed a massive protest by India’s communist party against the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party. The photos were actually captured by various news agencies of pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong in 2019.

4. Saudi oil refinery blast?

A video of a large explosion has been viewed hundreds of thousands of times in multiple Facebook posts that claim it shows a recent blast at Saudi Arabia’s Aramco oil refinery caused by drone strikes on September 14, 2019. But the video shows an explosion at a natural gas plant in northern Mexico in 2012.

5. Saudi and Israeli relations

A video that purports to show a celebration for the opening of Saudi and Israeli embassies in each country has been viewed hundreds of thousands of times in multiple posts on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. In fact, the video shows Arabs and Jews celebrating the Jewish festival of Hanukkah in Bahrain in 2016. Israel and Saudi Arabia have no diplomatic ties.

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

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

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

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

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

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