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AFP Fact Check articles of the week

January 22, 2021

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

1. Troops in Washington

A video viewed tens of thousands of times on social media claims to show then-US president Donald Trump on a surprise visit to National Guard troops in Washington, where they were deployed following a riot by his supporters on January 6, 2021. The claim is false. The footage actually shows Trump meeting troops in Afghanistan in 2019, and there is no evidence that he visited the National Guard in the US capital this year.

2. Italian president

A photo has been circulating on Facebook, Twitter and Reddit alongside claims it shows Italian President Sergio Mattarella being arrested by US forces. The photo, however, actually shows former US ambassador to India Kenneth Juster with a security detail for the US secretary of the state in October 2020. Mattarella has not been arrested.

3. Covid-19 vaccine

A video has been viewed tens of thousands of times after being posted on Facebook, YouTube and TikTok alongside a claim that it shows a man fainting after receiving the Covid-19 vaccine in Indonesia’s West Nusa Tenggara province. The claim is false. The footage in fact shows a vaccine simulation exercise in East Nusa Tenggara province; a government official said that the exercise included “a simulation on how to handle a person who suddenly faints”.

4. Bobi Wine

A video has been shared thousands of times on social media alongside claims that it shows Ugandan police manhandling and stripping the wife of opposition leader Bobi Wine and her son. This is false. Wine’s wife, Barbie Wine, told AFP she was not the person in the clip and further investigation of the video shows that the women were not identical.

5. Indonesia plane crash

A video has been viewed millions of times on TikTok, Facebook and YouTube alongside a claim it shows the final moments inside Indonesia’s Sriwijaya Air flight SJ 182 before it crashed in January 2021. The claim is false. The video actually shows passengers on board a Bulgarian airlines flight after the plane experienced major turbulence in 2019.


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