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Viral Photo Falsely Targets Climate Strike Protesters


Quick Take

A post on social media falsely claims to show litter left behind by Climate Strike protesters in London on Sept. 20. The photo is from a completely unrelated event in April. 


Full Story

The Global Climate Strike, an international series of protests from Sept. 20-27, had thousands of participants in over 150 countries marching against climate change and the fossil fuel industry. Critics have labeled these protesters as hypocrites after a photo of a littered field went viral on Facebook and Twitter, supposedly showing the aftermath of one of the Climate Strike protests.

One Facebook post from Sept. 20 has over 130,000 shares and nearly 500 comments. The post reads: “Aftermath of ‘Climate Strike’ yesterday. Yes, listen to the kids, they will guide our planet, I guess they haven’t learnt the basics yet.” 

The photo also received considerable attention on the Australian Youth Coal Coalition Facebook page, which has since removed a post that said: “Look at the mess today’s climate protesters left behind in beautiful Hyde Park. So much plastic. So much landfill. So sad.”

Here are the facts: the photo shows Hyde Park in London, not the park of the same name in Sydney, Australia. It was taken April 20, not last week. And the trash was left behind by people attending an event celebrating the unofficial marijuana holiday 420 not a climate protest.

Even in April, people falsely identified activists from Extinction Rebellion, a movement fighting against climate change, as the source of the litter. Those protesters were nearby at a different event at the same time as the cannabis festival in Hyde Park. Royal Parks, the charity that manages Hyde Park, addressed those false claims in an April 23 tweet.

There’s a lot of incorrect information doing the Twitter rounds this morning,” the post reads. “This photo is the result of an unofficial event in Hyde Park on Saturday, not the #ExtinctionRebellion protestors in Marble Arch.” 

The Hemp Trading Company, a hemp fashion brand based in London, also confirmed that the trash was from the 420 event. “This was the aftermath of Hyde Park 420 – and was *cleaned up* by Extinction Rebellion crew,” it wrote in an April 21 post on Facebook.

IMPORTANT EDIT: a lot of people are misreading this post. This was the aftermath of Hyde Park 420 – and was *cleaned up*…

Posted by THTC – The Hemp Trading Company on Sunday, April 21, 2019

 

Editor’s note: FactCheck.org is one of several organizations working with Facebook to debunk misinformation shared on social media. Our previous stories can be found here.

Sources

Thomson, Lizzie. “420 Hyde Park 2019: What is 420 day? Everything you need to know about the London event.” Evening Standard. 18 Apr. 2019, accessed 26 Sept. 2019.

Royal Parks (@theroyalparks). “There’s a lot of incorrect information doing the Twitter rounds this morning. This photo is the result of an unofficial event in Hyde Park on Saturday, not the #ExtinctionRebellion protestors in Marble Arch. It costs us millions to clear #litter every year. Please take it home..” Twitter. 23 Apr. 2019.

Extinction Rebellion (@ExtinctionR). “This is from a totally separate event that took place in Hyde park. #ExtinctionRebellion activists went to help tidy up anyway because it grossed us out as much as it does you.”

THTC – The Hemp Trading Company. Trash in Hyde Park. Facebook, 21 Apr. 2019, www.facebook.com/THTC1/posts/10157525788004349:0. Accessed 26 Sept. 2019.