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Environmentalists did not trash a California park on Earth Day

May 2, 2019 GMT

CLAIM: Photo of park strewn with garbage is captioned, “THIS IS HOW ENVIRONMENTALISTS LEFT A PARK IN CALIFORNIA AFTER A EARTHDAY (sic) CELEBRATION.” 

AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. The photo used in Earth Day posts being shared on Facebook was taken nearly a decade ago to show debris left after “tailgating” parties at a college football game in Georgia.

THE FACTS: The photo, which shows an area littered with cups, trash bags and cardboard, was taken at the University of Georgia in Athens following a Saturday college football game on September 12, 2009. 

The image with the false caption began appearing days after Earth Day celebrations on April 22 this year.

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The Atlanta Journal Constitution published the photo with a story Sept. 17, 2009, about the mess party-goers left at the Bulldogs’ home opener against South Carolina.

Workers collected about 70 tons of garbage along with tents, grills, coolers and chairs following the tailgate, according to a 2011 Associated Press story. The college tightened rules regarding tailgating following the controversy.

Here’s more information on Facebook’s fact-checking program: https://www.facebook.com/help/1952307158131536

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This is part of The Associated Press’ ongoing effort to fact-check misinformation that is shared widely online, including work with Facebook to identify and reduce the circulation of false stories on the platform.