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Your weekly Fact-Checks

28th of October - November 3rd, 2022

#The first online fact-check?

Figuring out what's true or not has been part of human nature since the beginning of our species. But when was the first online fact-check published? The Factiverse database of verified fact-checks is growing and we are now close to 200.000 fact-checks! The first one in our database is from 1996:

False: Charles Manson was one of the 437 applicants who tried out for The Monkees in 1965.
Four hundred and thirty-seven hopefuls auditioned for producers Bob Rafelson and Bert Schneider, and four young men were eventually chosen to star in the pilot for a TV show about a rock group called The Monkees. But despite popular legend, Charles Manson -- later to become infamous for his association with the "Helter Skelter" murders -- was not among the many youngsters who tried out for the show. (Source: Snopes)

Feeling nostalgic? Well, let's jump forward to 2022 and to the fact-checks of last week:


False: Photos show Ukrainian first lady on holiday in Israel
Several Facebook posts showing Russian TV presenter Elena Lenina have been shared alongside a false claim they show Ukrainian First Lady Olena Zelenska on vacation in Israel, as Russia's military continues to launch attacks on her country. (Source: AFP)

False: German satirical magazine Titanic published an October cover showing a cartoon of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy devouring money and military equipment with the title “Ewiger Appetit,”
A fabricated magazine cover showing an illustration of Zelenskyy has circulated on social media this month, incorrectly attributed to the German outlet. (Source: AFP Fact-check)


Missing context: 60% of South African consumers debt free? Popular Twitter account mangles study findings
According to a September 2022 tweet from Africa Facts Zone, 60% of South African consumers were living debt free in 2021. The Banking Association South Africa (Basa) told Africa Check that “if you are ‘debt-free’ then you essentially do not owe anyone any money”. In contrast, “a person with debt is a consumer who owes money to credit providers in terms of their credit agreements”.

In 2022, only 22% of those surveyed by BrandMapp said that they were actually debt free. Most of these, De Kock said, were typically too young to have amassed debt, or old enough to have paid off their debts.

So the Africa Facts Zone account misquoted a statistic from the BrandMapp study. (Source: AfricaCheck)

Half true: The Scottish Government has "effectively, a fixed budget"
The largest part of Scotland’s budget – the block grant –  is effectively fixed. The block grant is affected by changes to UK Government spending in England, which then filters through to the Scottish Government. However, the budget in Scotland can be altered each year by devolved and partially-devolved taxation, such as council tax and the Scottish rate of income tax. (Source: The Ferret)

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#US Midterm elections

False: Pennsylvania has sent “255,000 unverified” voters ballots for the midterm elections.
That claim misrepresents state data, which lists many voters as “not verified” for internal workflow purposes and includes, for example, voters requesting permanent mail-in ballots whose identities were verified in the primary election but will be re-checked for the general election, officials said. It does not mean that the voters failed to provide correct identification information, nor does it mean their identities weren’t ultimately verified. (Source: AP News)

Altered Video: Obama overwhelmed by crowds chanting "Fuck Joe Biden"
A video shared on social media appears to show Barack Obama losing control of a rally, as a profane slogan directed at President Joe Biden is seemingly chanted by the crowd. But the clip was manipulated to add the audio insulting Biden, and the former US president was responding to a protester challenging him about Russia. (Source: AFP Fact-check)

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