False and misleading posts about the Ukraine conflict continue to go viral on major social media platforms, as Russia’s invasion of the country extends beyond 500 days.
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Some of the most widely shared examples can be found on Twitter, posted by subscribers with a blue tick, who pay for their content to be promoted to other users.
Weapons for Ukraine not used in French riots
Many misleading posts have been shared online about the recent riots in France, but one viral post last week focused on US military aid to Ukraine.
It featured a screenshot of what appeared to be a headline from a news website, along with an image of two rifles.
“French police are fired upon with American rifles that may have come from Ukraine,” reads the headline.
Several Twitter accounts with Blue subscriptions have shared the post, which has been viewed more than a million times.
BBC Verify has traced it back to pro-Kremlin channels on the Telegram messaging app. The image used in the post appears in a Russian military blog from 2012 about a shooting competition held on a firing range near Moscow.
We have also been unable to find any online articles with the headline and picture as above, and there is no evidence any weapons provided to Ukraine by the US have been used during the recent unrest in France.
No evidence of ‘baby factories’ in Ukraine
Several Twitter accounts with a blue tick have recently promoted a claim that Russia has discovered “baby factories” in Ukraine.
Children between the ages of two and seven are said to be “factory farmed”, and either sent to “child sex brothels” or to have their organs harvested and sold in the West.
BBC Verify has traced the origin of the claim to an article published in March by The People’s Voice, an alternative name for YourNewsWire, which has been described by fact-checking organisations as one of the biggest producers of fake news on the internet.
It has previously promoted a wide range of false and misleading stories, including anti-vaccine conspiracy theories and false claims about the 2017 mass shooting in Las Vegas.
The Russian government and Kremlin-controlled media have a history of promoting unsubstantiated claims about illegal organ harvesting in Ukraine.
Kramatorsk missile not Ukrainian
A Russian missile attack killed eight people in the centre of Kramatorsk in eastern Ukraine, at the end of June.
In the immediate aftermath of the attack, a post by an account with a Twitter Blue subscription, which positions itself as a legitimate news source, claimed the strike was mistakenly launched by Ukraine and hit a military barracks housing Nato troops and foreign mercenaries.
“Storm Shadow missile suddenly changed trajectory dramatically, hitting Kramatorsk obliterated a Ukrainian military barracks housing foreign soldiers and mercenaries,” the tweet claimed.
The post was viewed more than a million times.
There is no evidence that a missile launched by Ukrainian forces was responsible, nor that a military barracks was hit.
Zelensky has not cancelled elections
Posts claiming Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has “cancelled” elections in Ukraine have recently gone viral on Twitter.
As evidence, users cited remarks made by Mr Zelensky in an interview with the BBC in late June.
Asked whether there will be elections in Ukraine next year, Mr Zelensky responded: “If we win [the war], there will be. It means there will be no martial law, no war. Elections must be held in peacetime, when there is no war, according to the law.”
Commenting on the statement, former Fox News host Tucker Carlson, who’s been critical of US aid for Ukraine, said in his recently launched Twitter show that Mr Zelensky’s comments proved he’d ended democracy in Ukraine.
Twitter Blue accounts on a similar theme have been shared hundreds of thousands of times.
The Ukrainian constitution prohibits the dissolution of parliament and national elections during martial law, meaning the current president and parliament will remain in charge until the period of martial law comes to an end.
Oleksii Danilov, secretary of Ukraine’s national security and defence council, recently confirmed that based on the Ukrainian constitution, “no elections can take place” while martial law is in effect in the country.
Contacted by BBC Verify for a response to the false and misleading Twitter Blue posts highlighted in this article, Twitter’s press office acknowledged receipt of our enquiry, but declined to comment.
take from: https://www.bbc.com/