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AFP Fact Check articles of the week

December 13, 2019

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

1. Doctored green card for Hong Kong activist

An image of a purported US permanent resident card, known as a green card, issued to Hong Kong pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong has been shared hundreds of times on social media. The image has been doctored to include a headshot of Wong, who also confirmed he does not hold a green card.

2. Most refugees are not adult men

North Americans continue to share a meme which details incorrect demographic breakdowns for refugees. The UN’s refugee agency’s figures from last year show that of the 20 million refugees worldwide under the agency’s mandate, 24 percent were men between age 19 and 59, while 48 percent were women and girls.

3. Victoria Falls ‘bone dry’?

A YouTube video has sparked widespread claims that Victoria Falls in southern Africa was ‘almost bone dry’ as the region suffers one of its worst droughts in decades. However, the video and subsequent media reports downplayed the seasonal dry period and ignored the fact that the Zimbabwean side of the waterfall has been faring much better.

4. Hyderabad rape-murder investigation

Footage of Indian police beating a man has been viewed tens of thousands of times on Facebook alongside claims that the man is a suspect in a high profile rape and murder case in Hyderabad. In fact, the video was circulated online prior to the Hyderabad attack and actually shows police in a neighboring state hitting another accused rapist.

5. Sri Lankan president mix-up

An image shared thousands of times in multiple Facebook posts accompanies claims that it shows Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Sri Lanka’s recently elected president, during a visit to Pakistan in 1985. The photo actually shows a recent picture of Dr. Terawan Agus Putranto, Indonesia’s Minister of Health, celebrating a military promotion.






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