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AFP Fact Check articles of the week

July 10, 2020

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

1. COVID-19 welfare

A claim that “anyone who tested positive for COVID-19” in the Australian state of Victoria will receive a lump-sum payment from the state government has been shared widely in multiple Facebook and Twitter posts. The claim, however, is misleading. The Victorian government said the payment is only being issued to qualified people under certain circumstances.

2. Melania Trump’s dress

Social media posts shared tens of thousands of times claim that a dress worn by US first lady Melania Trump featured drawings by child sex abuse victims. In fact, the dress’s motif shows “dancing girls” designed by fashion students, according to their UK university and the luxury fashion house that produced the garment.

3. Polio patients

An image of children with limb deformities has been shared hundreds of times in multiple Facebook posts published in 2020 alongside claims that the photo shows the aftermath of vaccine trials on Africans. The photo, however, was actually taken in 1998 and shows unvaccinated children in Sierra Leone who contracted polio.

4. Skydiving footage

A video has been shared thousands of times in multiple posts on Facebook alongside claims that it shows bodies of Mexican COVID-19 victims being dumped in the sea from a helicopter. The claim is false. The video has circulated online since 2018 and shows synchronised skydivers in Russia.

5. Bubonic plague

Facebook and Twitter posts shared thousands of times claim the World Health Organization (WHO) stated that a case of bubonic plague detected in China in July 2020 is likely to trigger a “severe epidemic”. The posts add that the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said the bubonic plague can spread through cough droplets. Both claims are misleading. The WHO said the bubonic plague case is “being well managed” and the CDC maintains that the bubonic plague is usually spread by fleas.







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