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AFP Fact Check articles of the week

October 23, 2020

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

1. Myanmar elections

A graphic has been shared hundreds of times in multiple Facebook posts and blogs alongside a claim it shows the results of a pre-election survey that indicate declining public trust in Myanmar’s ruling party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), ahead of an election scheduled for November 2020. The claim, however, is false. The NLD and Myanmar’s election monitoring authority both said the figures in the graphic were fake, and there is no evidence that such a survey was ever conducted.

2. Covid-19 patent conspiracy

Multiple Facebook posts shared hundreds of times claim that a person named Richard A. Rothschild filed a patent for novel coronavirus tests in 2015. The claim is false. The image shows a supplemental application that was filed in 2020, following the submission of another patent application in 2015 that was not related to the coronavirus. A spokesperson for the financial services firm Rothschild & Co. also said the patent’s applicant had no link to the company.

3. Nigeria unrest

An image of a large crowd gathering on a highway has been shared in multiple social media posts, claiming it shows Nigerians protesting against the country’s controversial Special Anti-Robbery Squad — a recently disbanded police unit accused of extrajudicial killings. The claim is false. The photo actually shows a protest against fuel subsidy removals in 2012.

4. Canada camps

Facebook posts suggest that the Canadian federal government is building “internment camps” in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. This is false; government-run quarantine sites are facilities rented for travellers, who have no alternative for mandatory quarantine, Health Canada told AFP.

5. Thailand protests

A photo has been shared repeatedly in multiple Facebook posts that claim it shows young pro-democracy protesters arrested by police in Thailand in October 2020. The image, however, shows Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters who were detained during a demonstration in 2019.


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