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AFP Fact Check articles of the week

July 24, 2020

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

1. New Zealand lockdown hoax

Footage of armed men wearing military fatigues patrolling a street in New Zealand was viewed tens of thousands of times on Facebook alongside a claim that “martial law” in the country was “ready to be enforced with lockdown”. The New Zealand Defence Force, however, said the video shows military cadets taking part in an annual training exercise for overseas deployments. New Zealand ended its coronavirus lockdown in late April.

2. Misleading video targets Fauci

A video watched more than 2.5 million times on Facebook contained misleading footage of US infectious diseases expert Dr. Anthony Fauci speaking about facemasks. The Facebook post criticised Fauci’s past remarks on the use of masks, suggesting he had admitted they were not effective in curbing the spread of COVID-19. The video was deceptively edited to omit quotes from Fauci offering strong support for the use of masks.

3. Nigeria’s anti-graft chief jailed?

An image of a man in jail has circulated on Facebook in Nigeria alongside a claim that it showed Ibrahim Magu, the embattled acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, who has been hit with graft charges. But the image was doctored — the original photo is a stock photograph that shows a different man behind bars.

4. Thermometer guns

A video was viewed thousands of times on Facebook and YouTube alongside a claim that thermometer guns cause “damage” to the brain because they contain infrared radiation. Experts said the devices do not harm the brain, and health agencies worldwide encourage the use of thermometer guns as part of efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19.

5. False COVID-19 treatments

A list of purported home treatments for COVID-19 was shared hundreds of times in multiple Facebook posts. The posts recommended, for example, that people with breathing problems should use an oxygen cylinder before going to a hospital. But health experts said there was no scientific evidence to support the treatments and advised people with breathing difficulties due to suspected COVID-19 infections to seek medical help.

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

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

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

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

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

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