WebQoof Recap: Misinformation Around The Afghanistan Crisis And More
From misinformation about visuals from Afghanistan to a violence being given a communal angle.
From misinformation around visuals being shared as ones from Afghanistan's ongoing crisis to a graphic video being shared with a false communal angle, here's what misled the public this week.
1. Old Visuals Incorrectly Linked to Kabul Airport Blasts
Soon after the blasts at Kabul airport on 26 August, social media platforms were rife with visuals of the incident. Users as well as news organisations reported on the blasts and shared visuals claiming to show the attack on Kabul airport.
However, we found that these visuals were old. The video of a flash of light illuminates the screen, showing an airstrike on the Gaza strip, while the images which show smoke billowing in the background existed on the internet before the twin blasts at Kabul airport.
2. NASA Says 14-Year-Old Girl's Selection Was Based on 'False Information'
On 19 August, news agency ANI published a story of a 14-year-old girl from Aurangabad, Maharashtra after she purportedly got selected as a "panellist on the Minority Serving Institution (MSI) Fellowships Virtual Panel of National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)."
Many news media organisations picked up the story as ANI shared photos and screenshots of the girl's correspondence with NASA.
The Quint's WebQoof team contacted NASA for a comment and an official told us that the girl was selected by a third-party service, based on 'false information regarding her background and credentials'.
The official also confirmed that the organisation had not accepted any scientific paper from the minor, nor had she been awarded any accolades by the Aeronautics body.
You can read our detailed fact-check here.
3. Media Outlets Air Old Clips in Recent Bulletins as Situation in Panjshir Valley
Amid the political and humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, media outlets such as Republic Bharat and India Today, among others ran visuals which they claimed showed how Resistance forces in Panjshir Valley in north-eastern Afghanistan overtook and ousted the Taliban.
But we found that the visuals aired by the media channels were old and had been on the internet since 2020 and July 2021 at least.
You can read this fact-check here.
4. Infograph Falsely Claims Most People Take Refuge in Non-Muslim Nations
Social media users widely shared a Hindi infograph, which claimed that 85 percent of the refugees in the world were from the Muslim community. It posed a question asking why, despite there being 56 Islamic countries in the world, they took refuge in non-Muslim nations.
As per UNHCR, the United Nations' Refugee Agency, 39 percent of the world's refugees are hosted in five countries, of which two – Turkey and Pakistan – are predominantly Muslim countries. Further, the UNHCR's 2020 report noted that 68 percent of all refugees originated from just five countries.
You can access the agency's reports and read our fact-check here.
5. Video of Man Brutally Killed in Karnataka Shared With a False Communal Spin
A graphic video showing a group of four men armed attacking a man with axes and sickles was widely shared on social media, claiming that it showed communally motivated violence in Rajasthan. Some users had shared the video placing the incident in Chhattisgarh and Uttar Pradesh as well.
We found that the video of the fatal attack was that of Anwar Shaikh, a gangster with many charges against him, including murder and rape.
The incident occurred in Karnataka's Haveri district and the Superintendent of Police confirmed that all persons involved belonged to the Muslim community, adding that the violence occurred out of some personal enmity between both parties.
You can read our fact-check here.
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