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AFP Fact Check articles of the week

October 9, 2020

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

1. US mail-in voting

Social media users, including one of US President Donald Trump’s sons, are citing isolated cases of mail-in ballots being sent in error as evidence of the potential for widespread voter fraud. This is misleading. Election officials say steps including signature verification prevent imposters from returning ballots in place of another voter.

2. Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict

Two photos have been shared repeatedly in multiple Facebook and Twitter posts alongside a claim they show a Russian-made air defence system that was destroyed in an October 2020 attack on Armenia. The claim is false. The photos have circulated since 2016 in reports about an air defence system that was damaged in an accident in Russia.

3. Hong Kong police

An image has been shared hundreds of times in multiple Twitter posts that purports to show a Chinese political slogan coined by Communist China’s founder Mao Zedong in an advert for the Hong Kong police force. The image, however, has been doctored. The real Hong Kong police poster displays a recruitment message.

4. Nigeria and US election

A claim that the Nigeria government has pledged $600 million to the campaign of US presidential candidate Joe Biden has been shared over a thousand times in multiple Facebook posts. The posts claim that the backing for Biden is a result of incumbent President Donald Trump supporting a separatist group in the West African country. The allegations are false. There is no evidence that Nigeria has vowed to fund Biden, an act prohibited by US law. Similarly, the claim that Trump backed a separatist group in Nigeria is baseless.

5. Pakistani religious leader

A photo of a Pakistani religious political party chief has been shared hundreds of times in multiple posts on Facebook and Twitter alongside a claim it shows him on board a plane with a bottle of whisky on his table. The photo, however, has been digitally manipulated to include the whisky bottle.


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