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AFP Fact Check articles of the week

May 29, 2020

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

1. Japan travel

Multiple online articles and social media posts published in May 2020 claim the Japanese government is set to subsidise trips for foreign tourists visiting the country after it lifts its coronavirus lockdown. The claim, however, is misleading. The Japanese government clarified that tourism subsidies will only be available for Japanese residents taking domestic trips.

2. Voter fraud myth

Claims that voting by mail in the US results in fraud have been shared widely on social media, including by US President Donald Trump. One such post, which was shared tens of thousands of times, included photos of people social distancing to suggest that voting by mail during the COVID-19 pandemic was unwarranted. Yet experts and US officials say mail voter fraud is extremely rare. “There’s simply no basis for the conspiracy theory that voting by mail causes fraud,” said Ellen Weintraub, commissioner of the US Federal Election Commission.

3. Contact tracing hoax

Multiple Facebook and Twitter posts shared thousands of times in May 2020 claim that anyone in New Zealand who refuses to use a COVID-19 contact tracing app has been banned from entering shops. The claim is misleading. The app named in the posts is not a contact tracing app and is not being used by New Zealand’s government as part of its coronavirus strategy. Retail stores are also not required to record consumer information for contact tracing purposes.

4. False Nigerian debt claim

A claim that Nigeria’s ruling party has piled up 27 trillion naira ($70 billion) in debt since it came to power in 2015 has been shared hundreds of times in multiple Facebook and Twitter posts. This is false. The figure includes debt accumulated by previous administrations, according to government records.

5. Animated plane crash

A video has been viewed millions of times in multiple posts on Facebook which claim it shows the recent crash of a Pakistan International Airlines plane in Karachi. The video, however, is computer-generated imagery that was created by a flight simulator programme.







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