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AFP Fact Check articles of the week

December 6, 2019

AFP’s fact-check service debunks misinformation spread online. Here are some of our recent fact-checks:

1. Solidarity for Palestinian journalist

Images of people covering their left eye have been shared in Facebook posts which claim that they were showing solidarity with a Palestinian journalist who lost his eye during clashes in the West Bank. The claim is misleading — some of the photos, including images of professional football stars wearing eye patches, have been doctored.

2. Greta Thunberg lookalike

A 19th century photo of a young girl with a striking resemblance to Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg has sparked an online furore, with some posts claiming the image was doctored or proves that Thunberg is a time traveller. The image, in fact, was taken in Canada in 1898 and is currently being held by the University of Washington Libraries, which confirmed its authenticity. Thunberg was born in Sweden in 2003.

3. Hong Kong elections

A graphic has been shared widely on Facebook, Weibo and in online forums which claims to show that almost 60 percent of the votes cast in the Hong Kong district council election were invalid. The claim is false; the Hong Kong Registration and Electoral Office said that 12,097 votes cast were invalid, which represents just 0.41 percent of the total vote.

4. Australian immigration law

A Facebook post shared tens of thousands of times claims that people who cross the Australian border “illegally” are eligible to receive a job, a driver’s license, a $70,000 grant, and numerous other benefits. The claim is false; Australian immigration laws and government policy ban people who they deem to have crossed the border illegally from settling in Australia.

5. Nawaz Sharif travels abroad

An image of a purported US newspaper article criticising the judiciary in Pakistan has been shared hundreds of times in multiple Facebook posts. The posts claim the news article is about a Pakistani court’s recent decision to grant travel permission to Nawaz Sharif, the country’s ailing former Prime Minister who was imprisoned for corruption. The claim is false — the image has been doctored and does not show a real newspaper.






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