NO REAL NEWS: A look at what didn’t happen this week


FILE – Nikoloz Basilashvili of Georgia gestures during his first round match against Andy Murray of Great Britain at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia on Tuesday January 18, 2022. Friday January 21 , The Associated Press reported articles circulating online falsely claiming that three tennis players, Basilashvili, Nick Kyrgios and Dalila Jakupovic, were forced to drop out of this year’s Australian Open after experiencing health issues. breast related health. (AP Photo/Andy Brownbill)


A roundup of some of the most popular but completely fake stories and visuals of the week. None of these are legit, even though they have been widely shared on social media. The Associated Press verified them. Here are the facts:


Players don’t have to drop out of Australian Open due to chest pain

CLAIM: Three tennis players – Nikoloz Basilashvili, Nick Kyrgios and Dalila Jakupovic – have been forced to drop out of this year’s Australian Open after suffering chest-related health issues.

THE FACTS: Neither Basilashvili nor Kyrgios quit, and Jakupovic was not expected to play at the Australian Open this year. The false rumor emerged in a widely shared post which also mentioned Australia’s decision to cancel top tennis player Novak Djokovic’s visa because he lacked a COVID-19 vaccine. The January 10 article, published on a fringe website that has been spreading lies about COVID-19, was titled “Three Players Abandon Australian Open With Chest Problems While Djokovic Awaits His Fate.” The story incorrectly claimed Basilashvili dropped out after he was seen ‘tightening his chest with difficulty breathing’ in a separate match during the ATP Cup. Videos show Basilashvili seeking medical attention and pulling out of an ATP Cup match in Sydney on January 5, but the Georgian athlete did not drop out of the Australian Open, which started 12 days later. Monday. In fact, he appeared in the tournament, losing to British player Andy Murray on Tuesday. The article also claimed that Kyrgios of Australia was forced to abandon the tournament after suffering from breathing difficulties. Kyrgios withdrew from a tune-up tournament in Sydney on January 10 after testing positive for COVID-19, but has since recovered and made several appearances at the Australian Open. The article’s claim that Jakupovic, a Slovenian player, was forced to withdraw from an Australian Open match after falling to the ground is also unsubstantiated. Jakupovic fell to her knees coughing profusely from wildfire smoke during a match at the Australian Open in January 2020, before COVID-19 spread widely across the world. She is not expected to participate in this year’s tournament, according to her official roster. Thousands of social media users shared videos of Jakupovic collapsing in 2020 to falsely claim that the COVID-19 vaccine was preventing him from breathing. There are no credible reports that any side effects from the vaccine have affected the Melbourne-based tennis tournament. Medical experts say there is no evidence that COVID-19 vaccines have caused a wave of death or illness among athletes either. Tennis Australia, which organizes the Australian Open, did not respond to emailed requests for comment.

– Associated Press writer Ali Swenson in New York contributed to this report with additional reporting by Angelo Fichera in Philadelphia.


The NHS hasn’t created a poster claiming COVID-19 causes Bell’s palsy

CLAIM: A photo shows a poster distributed by the National Health Service in England warning that COVID-19 vaccines cause Bell’s palsy.

THE FACTS: No such poster has been issued by the NHS, the public health service confirmed to The Associated Press. Social media users have shared a picture of what they claim is an official poster warning that COVID-19 vaccines cause Bell’s Palsy. The poster includes the NHS logo and a picture of a girl, who appears to have facial paralysis. It reads, “Public Health Warning” at the top, and says below that the COVID-19 vaccine causes Bell’s palsy, a condition where there is weakness or paralysis on one side of the face. Photos of the unauthorized poster were displayed near London’s Heathrow Airport, according to online publications. The NHS said on Tuesday it was not responsible for the poster. England’s Department of Health and Social Care, which funds and oversees health agencies, also confirmed to the AP that the poster was not from the NHS. Scientists studying COVID-19 vaccines have found no link between inoculation and Bell’s palsy. During the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine trial phase, the company reported four cases of Bell’s palsy. But experts say the number of cases in the trial was consistent with reported levels in the general population. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states on its website that “there was insufficient available data for the FDA to conclude that these cases were causally related to vaccination.” The photo of the girl used in the posters can be found on several image websites with the caption “Bell’s Palsy”. The BBC featured the photo in 2013 in a first-hand account of a BBC journalist’s recovery process.

— Associated Press writer Beatrice Dupuy in New York contributed to this report.


Video shows river in Indonesia, not tsunami in Tonga

CLAIM: Video shows people hit by an unexpected wave amid a tsunami in Tonga on Saturday.

THE FACTS: The video was taken in Indonesia, not Tonga, and has been online since December 2021. It shows people being hit by a wave on the Kampar River in Sumatra. But after the Hunga Tonga Hunga Ha’apai submarine volcano erupted near Tonga on Saturday, social media users distorted the video, falsely suggesting it showed people being hit by tsunami waves in the tiny nation of the Pacific. The clip begins with a person hitting a tree by a river. Several other people then come running, followed by a strong wave that crashes over each of them, sweeping some people off their feet. “Unexpected #Tsunami #HungaTongaHungaHaapai #Tsunami #Tonga #Earthquake,” read a widely shared Twitter post of the clip, which has been viewed more than 1.4 million times on the platform. The clip, which features people speaking the Bahasa Indonesia language, was uploaded to YouTube on December 6, 2021. The caption is tagged with Sungai Kampar, a river on the island of Sumatra. One of the people featured in the images, who uses the name Rina Rina bono on social media, confirmed the location of the images in a WhatsApp message to The Associated Press. The Kampar River is known for its tidal bores – large waves that flow upstream in the rivers. Indonesia is about 5,000 miles from Tonga. Other videos posted to social media on Saturday showed large waves washing up in coastal areas of Tonga, swirling around houses, a church and other buildings. Three of Tonga’s smaller islands were hit by waves of up to 49ft, the AP reported.

– Associated Press writer Josh Kelety in Phoenix contributed to this report, with additional reporting by Edna Tarigan in Jakarta, Indonesia.


Posts recirculate old edited photo of fake CNN banner

CLAIM: A CNN broadcast displayed a banner stating that a shooter was “actually Arab, but morally white.”

THE FACTS: The image has been manipulated to feature fake text. A CNN representative previously confirmed to The Associated Press that the network did not run the banner. The manipulated image has been widely shared in recent days by social media users who interpreted it as a real still from a CNN broadcast about the gunman who took four people hostage at a Texas synagogue on 15 January. But the edited image originated as a satire in 2021 following a shooting in Colorado and is now being recirculated on social media with incorrect claims about coverage of the Texas hostage situation. In the doctored image, CNN host Brooke Baldwin and correspondent Lucy Kafanov are pictured on a split screen. A fabricated chyron under reporters reads: “DEVELOPING STORY INVESTIGATION: SHOOTER WAS FACTUALLY ARAB, BUT MORALLY WHITE.” But the banner is fake and the image has been manipulated. The AP previously reported that the fabricated image appeared in March 2021 on The Babylon Bee, a Christian satirical website. The original image is from a broadcast that month about the shooting at a supermarket in Boulder, Colorado, in which 10 people were killed. The actual CNN banner read, “COLORADO SHOOTING SUSPECT IS IN JAIL TODAY,” according to the TV News Archive. At the time, a CNN spokesperson confirmed in an email to the AP that the chyron on The Babylon Bee site was fabricated and did not match the network’s font. In some of the more recent versions of the doctored photo, the CNN deadline for “Boulder, Colorado” was removed. The gunman who took four people hostage in a 10-hour standoff at suburban Dallas synagogue that ended in his death has been identified as Malik Faisal Akram, a 44-year-old British citizen arrived in the United States about two years ago. weeks ago on a tourist visa, officials said.


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