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AFP Fact Check articles of the week

December 4, 2020

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

1. Thailand protests

With Thailand rocked by five consecutive months of pro-democracy protests, a screenshot was shared in multiple Facebook posts that purported to show a tweet from Thai pro-democracy group Free Youth announcing details for an upcoming rally. The Twitter handle shown in the screenshot, however, was not from the group’s verified account. AFP also identified other fake Twitter accounts impersonating the pro-democracy group. In response, a co-founder of Free Youth said that it only has one verified account through which it disseminates information regarding its activities; experts said the fake accounts may have been created to “discredit” the protesters.

2. Obama arrest hoax

According to false online claims promoted by the Conservative Beaver, a Canadian website, former US president Barack Obama was arrested on November 28, 2020 on espionage charges. But all the evidence used in the hoax article was plagiarised from a Department of Justice news release about a former CIA officer arrested in August 2020 in Hawaii. No other news outlets reported on the purported arrest.

3. ‘CIA director’ video

A video was viewed tens of thousands of times in multiple posts on Facebook and Twitter which claim it shows Gina Haspel, the current director of the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), being arrested. The claim is false: the footage is actually from 2016 and shows former US secretary of state Hillary Clinton appearing to faint after leaving a 9/11 memorial ceremony.

4. Doctored Maradona grave photo

A photo purporting to show football legend Pelé grieving by the grave of Diego Maradona was circulated online following the icon’s death on November 25. However, the image has been doctored and shows neither Pelé nor the late Argentine player’s grave.

5. Turkish president clip

A video was viewed tens of thousands of times on Facebook and Twitter alongside a claim it shows Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan refusing to sit and shake hands with French President Emmanuel Macron in 2020. The claim is false; a longer version of the video shows Erdogan sitting next to Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Russian President Vladimir Putin during a summit on Syria in October 2018.

http://u.afp.com/fakethaitwitter

http://u.afp.com/ObamaNotArrested

http://u.afp.com/CIAClinton

http://u.afp.com/3t96

http://u.afp.com/ErdoganMacron

Afp

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