Fact Checks

This image was created by a US designer for a photo manipulation contest in 2011
An image has been shared tens of thousands of times in multiple Facebook and Twitter posts alongside a claim it shows archeologists in India discovering the skeleton of Ghatotkacha, a giant warrior that featured in the Hindu epic Mahabharata. The claim is false; the image was created by an American graphic designer for a photo manipulation contest in August 2011.

False claim circulates on Facebook that plant seeds can restructure their DNA if you spit on them
An image has been shared thousands of times in multiple posts on Facebook which claim it shows plants can “read your DNA” if you spit on them and subsequently “structure [their] own genetic blueprint to create a superfood”. The claim is false; experts told AFP there is “no biological mechanism” for the purported process.

Early overseas voting does not show Myanmar's ruling party in the lead -- voter lists are still being finalised
An image that claims to show strong support for Myanmar’s ruling party in early overseas voting in South Korea has been shared thousands of times on Facebook. The claim is false: overseas voter registration was still ongoing when the misleading posts were published; Myanmar’s Election Commission has not announced the official early voting date; Myanmar’s Embassy in Seoul said the final overseas voter lists would not be announced until October 2020.

This video shows US congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard speaking at a Hindu festival
A video has been viewed thousands of times in multiple posts on Facebook and Twitter that claim it shows New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern speaking about Hinduism. The claim, however, is false; the footage in fact shows US congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard speaking at a Hindu festival.

HK broadcaster's election graphic triggers online backlash in Hong Kong
A graphic aired by Hong Kong channel TVB appeared to show that countries including Canada, the UK and New Zealand had postponed key elections due to the novel coronavirus. The graphic was broadcast after Hong Kong delayed its September elections for a year because of the pandemic. Some social media users criticised TVB in posts on Facebook and Twitter for what they claimed was a false comparison. Of the four countries listed in the graphic only New Zealand has postponed its national election -- the other countries have postponed local elections. TVB corrected the graphic but said the social media posts were a "smear tactic".

Two of these photos circulated in online reports about a fire in the UK in 2018
Three photos have been shared tens of thousands of times in multiple posts on Facebook and Twitter that claim they show "the first ever firenado in the history of the world" in the US state of California in August 2020. The claim, however, is misleading; two of the photos have circulated in online reports about a firenado in the UK in August 2018; the third photo has circulated in reports about a wildfire in California in August 2020; although firenados are rare, there have been multiple sightings of them reported before August 2020.

The Indonesian central bank says the new 75,000 rupiah banknote is legal tender
Multiple posts shared hundreds of times on Facebook and Twitter claim that the new Indonesian 75,000 rupiah banknote is only “merchandise” not legal tender, therefore it cannot be used for financial transactions. But the claim is false; the Bank of Indonesia says that the new banknote is legal tender.

This video does not show a fight between Somalia’s president and his deputy
A video viewed thousands of times on social media claims to show a violent altercation between the president of Somalia and his deputy during a press conference. The claim is false; the fight was actually between the speaker and deputy of the House of Representatives in Somaliland – not Somalia – and it took place in 2015.

Taking your temperature with an infrared thermometer does not damage the pineal gland
A Facebook post shared thousands of times claims that taking a person’s temperature with an infrared thermometer near their head risks damaging the pineal gland, which is located in the brain. This is false, said neuroscience experts, who explained that this type of thermometer does not emit infrared radiation but captures wavelengths from the body.