As devastating floods inundated Germany and other parts of western Europe this week, an image of a drowning BMW car with an anti-Greta Thunberg sticker began doing the rounds of the Internet. The picture shows the luxury car partially submerged in water. A sticker on its back windshield reads, “F*** you Greta” – presumably in reference to the Swedish climate activist.
According to CNN, profanity-laced anti-Thunberg stickers do exist – but this is not one of them. The image, in fact, has been doctored.
The fake image was shared several times on social media to give the impression that a climate change-denier had been affected by extreme weather, which scientists say is becoming more frequent because of climate change.
“Karma can be ironic,” a Facebook user wrote in the comments section of the picture on Facebook.
“Meanwhile in Germany, a denier provides a bit of amusement for Greta,” another wrote while sharing the doctored photograph.
Several independent fact-checkers have since flagged the image as fake.
A reverse image search of the picture shows that the original pic, taken by photographer David Young, does not have a sticker on the windshield. You can view the original image, published in German newspaper Bild, here. According to the caption, the photo was taken in the Wuppertal district of Beyenburg, Germany.
One Twitter user also shared a photo of the car from a different angle. In that pic, too, no sticker is visible on the car.
The sticker is not there. Same car, other angle. pic.twitter.com/5uJbBKmq8k
— f_stiebeling (@f_stiebeling) July 16, 2021
According to PolitiFact, the image has also been flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation.
This, of course, is not the first time that an edited or doctored post has gone viral on social media. In 2019, a video purportedly showing Hurricane Dorian moving toward Florida had been widely circulated on social media before it was flagged as fake.
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