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AFP Fact Check articles of the week

August 21, 2020

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

1. ‘Plandemic’ panned

A film titled “Plandemic: Indoctornation” promotes the idea that the coronavirus pandemic ravaging countries around the world is the result of an elaborate conspiracy. It makes multiple unfounded claims, including that the deadly virus was designed in a lab and global health leaders knew the crisis would occur, and also seeks to stoke fears about vaccines. “This is wrong on so many levels,” one expert said.

2. Putin’s daughter?

Shortly after President Vladimir Putin declared Russia the first country to approve a vaccine for the novel coronavirus, a photo began circulating in Facebook, Twitter and Instagram posts that claimed it showed Putin’s daughter being inoculated. The woman in the image, however, was identified by Russian state media as Natalia, a volunteer in the vaccine trial.

3. Kamala Harris on guns

An article and Facebook post claim Democratic vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris opposes the right to own a gun and has plans with running mate Joe Biden to “dismantle” the Second Amendment to the US Constitution. These claims are false. Although Harris supports gun safety laws, she says these can co-exist with the Second Amendment and that she is not against gun ownership.

4. Australia conspiracy fines?

Multiple Facebook posts shared hundreds of times claim that “Aussies will be fined if they are found to be talking about conspiracies to do with [COVID-19]”. The posts included a screenshot of a segment from an Australian television show as evidence for the claim. But the claim is false. An Australian legal expert and the Attorney General’s Department said there is no such legislation and the television network said the screenshot shows a broadcast on polling about conspiracies.

5. Fake WHO document

An image appearing to show an official World Health Organization (WHO) publication highlighting scientific research has been shared on social media in an attempt to prove the global health body does not recommend mask-wearing during the coronavirus pandemic. But the WHO said the document did not originate from them and includes “cherry picked” studies.

1. u.afp.com/Plandemic2

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

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

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

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

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