from the Azovstal bunker map to Pope Francis saying the unvaccinated will go to hell


The world of information is complex – and fake stories and images are often widely shared on social media. Blasting News’ editorial staff spot the most popular hoaxes and misleading stories each week to help you tell right from wrong. Here are some of the most shared misrepresentations from this week, none of which are legit.


Alleged Book of Esther Scroll Found in Iran Is False

False declaration: Social media users have shared images of an alleged original scroll of the Book of Esther, a text that tells of the liberation of the Jewish people from a plan to exterminate them in the 5th century BC, during the reign of Xerxes I. book of Esther was recently found in Iran by a Jew who lived there.

The parchment dates from 1500 years ago. Beauty is anything written in pure gold, reads the description of one of the posts.


  • Speaking to AFP, Lawrence Schiffman, professor and director of the Global Network for Advanced Research in Jewish Studies at New York University, said the document is clearly a fake and features an arbitrary arrangement of Hebrew letters.
  • Also to AFP, Jodi Magness, an archaeologist and professor of religious studies at the University of North Carolina, pointed out that the parchment features a Star of David, which she says did not become a symbol of Judaism before the Middle Ages.


The White House does not sell coins honoring Zelensky

False declaration: Social media users in the United States have shared images of two commemorative coins with the face of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, along with the claim that the objects were created by the White House as part of its ” Historical Moments”.


  • A reverse image search shows that the pieces in the posts were created and are sold by a store called White House Gift Shop.
  • Contrary to what its name might suggest, the store is private, having no connection with the US presidency or the Joe Biden administration.
  • In a statement to AP, Anthony Giannini, the boutique’s CEO and executive director, said “the White House Gift Shop is privatized.”
  • There is no record of the commemorative coins honoring Zelensky on the official White House website.


Azovstal Steelworks underground bunker map is actually an illustration of a board game

False declaration: Social media users in Italy shared an image of a bunker with a research laboratory, greenhouse, cistern and dormitory, along with the claim that it was a depiction of a supposed existing underground shelter at the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol, southern Ukraine, which has been the target of an offensive by Russian forces in recent days.

The posts, which use the hashtag #BiolabsinUkraine, spread the conspiracy theory that the Azovstal is hiding a secret NATO base housing biological labs. The image of the bunker was even used by some Italian TV shows to illustrate the Battle of Azovstal.


  • A reverse image search shows that the image shared on social media is actually from a board game called ‘Blackout: Journey into Darkness’, which never reached production after its campaign failed. crowdfunding.
  • The game, created by Richard T. Broadwater, is set in a post-apocalyptic world infested with parasitic creatures that force humans to live in hiding in bunkers.

Latin America

Pope Francis didn’t say Holocaust deniers would go to hell not to get vaccinated

False declaration: Social media users in Latin America have shared an alleged reproduction of a front page from Spanish newspaper El Mundo with the following headline: “Pope Francis predicts Holocaust deniers will go to hell if they don’t get vaccinated. “At the ceremonial Mass this New Year’s Eve, Pope Francis will ask Holocaust deniers to get vaccinated to enter the kingdom of heaven and will warn that if they don’t, they will have to face the devil himself. “, we read in the subtitle of the article.


  • Although Pope Francis has come out in favor of vaccination against Covid-19, there is no record, either in the press or on official Vatican channels, that he said people would go “to hell” if they didn’t get vaccinated.
  • A reverse image search shows that the photo of Francis on the front page of El Mundo was taken by AFP correspondent Filippo Monteforte on January 6, 2022 – and not on New Year’s Eve as claimed – during the Epiphany Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican.
  • A search of the other page news shows that the front page was actually published on April 27, 2021, but did not originally contain the headline about the Pope, which has been digitally manipulated.


The photo does not show that Russia is sending food to Shanghai in 2022

False declaration: Social media users in Asia shared a photo of boxes labeled with an image of Chinese and Russian flags, along with the claim that the boxes contain food sent from Moscow to the city of Shanghai, which faces a food shortage amid a strict lockdown to contain a Covid-19 outbreak.

“Even under Western intimidation and sanctions, beleaguered Russia still donated 6 million catties (3,600 metric tons) of rice and flour to support Shanghai’s fight against the pandemic,” reads the statement. message caption.


  • A reverse image search shows that the image shared on social media was posted on Twitter by Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying on April 3, 2020.
  • According to the publication, the image shows medical supplies that China sent to Moscow in 2020 at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.


The article claiming that the link between referee whistles and heart problems in athletes is false

False declaration: Social media users in South Africa have shared an alleged screenshot of an Irish Examiner article which claims referee whistles could cause heart problems in athletes.


  • A search of the Irish Examiner’s website and its official Twitter and Facebook accounts shows there is no record of the article circulating on social media.
  • In a statement to Reuters, Tom Fitzpatrick, editor of the Irish Examiner, said “no such article has ever been published” by the newspaper.



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