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Photo of flooding manipulated to add anti-Thunberg sticker on car

July 20, 2021 GMT

CLAIM: Photo shows German car caught in floodwaters with anti-Greta Thunberg sticker on rear window.

AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. The photo was digitally altered to add the sticker on the rear window of the partially submerged car.

THE FACTS: Last week, severe floods in Germany and Belgium turned streets into raging torrents, sweeping up cars and causing houses to collapse, the AP reported.

Amid the flooding, a manipulated photo circulated on social media showing a BMW half-submerged in the floodwaters with a sticker saying “F--- you Greta” on the rear window, an apparent reference to Greta Thunberg, the well-known Swedish environmental activist.

Twitter users shared the manipulated photo and claimed it was “ironic” and an example of “karma.” The photo was also shared widely on Facebook.

The photo was featured in a July 16 article about car water damage during severe weather by German media outlet Bild. Photographer David Young captured the photo for Bild in the city of Wuppertal, near Beyenburg district last week. The sticker does not appear in the original photo.

“It is my photo and it has been manipulated,” Young told the AP in a call.

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