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AFP Fact Check articles of the week

August 14, 2020

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

1. Kamala Harris

Social media posts shared thousands of times claim that US Senator Kamala Harris, the running mate of presumptive Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, could not become president because her parents hailed from abroad. Harris, however, was born in the United States, making her constitutionally eligible to be both vice president and president.

2. Beirut blast

A photo of a massive crater has been shared thousands of times in multiple Facebook posts that claim it was taken at the site of an explosion in the Lebanese capital of Beirut in August 2020. The claim is false. The photo in fact shows the aftermath of an explosion in the Chinese city of Tianjin in August 2015.

3. Coronavirus transmission

Multiple Facebook posts shared hundreds of times claim that COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, does not spread “from person to person”. The posts also claim that people cannot become infected by touching contaminated surfaces. International health authorities, however, say COVID-19 can be transmitted from person to person and by touching contaminated surfaces.

4. Trudeau corruption hoax

As Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau faces public outcry and investigations for awarding WE Charity a Can$912 million ($690 million) contract, a widely-spread hoax claims that Trudeau bought his mother a luxury car with money from the organisation, formerly known as Free The Children. This is false. The story was fabricated by a self-proclaimed satirical website and propagated by a website pushing pro-conservative content.

5. Anti-vaccine hoax

A YouTube video featuring Harvard law professor emeritus Alan Dershowitz has been viewed thousands of times in posts that claim it exposes a plan by American billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates to forcefully vaccinate and “depopulate Africans” amid the novel coronavirus pandemic. This is false. Dershowitz was talking about New Yorkers while answering questions about the constitutionality of mandatory vaccination under US law. He made no reference to Africans, Gates or depopulation.







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