Fake News! Italians Are NOT Throwing Money Away, See Original Source of Misleading Photos

The coronavirus virus scourge ravaging most parts of the world is creating an atmosphere for fake news peddlers to thrive. This is why it is very important that you fact-check and cross-check whatever information you get especially from social media sources before sharing, in order not to further create panic.

There’s a story currently buzzing the internet indicating that Italians are throwing their money away because they think it is of no use amidst the high number of COVID-19 related deaths in their country. That story has turned out to be complete fake news, probably concocted by desperate bloggers for traffic, especially now that most people are indoors, mostly browsing the internet.

Fact check by reliable platforms has revealed the original source of the photos used in that fake story.

With the number of dead and infected due to coronavirus rising by the hour in Italy, a pair of images showing currency notes littered all around is going viral on social media with the claim that Italians are throwing their money on the streets as it is useless to them now.

Facebook user “Manish Dhawan” shared the images and wrote a caption in Hindi which translates to, “Italians threw their money on the streets. They say it’s of no use to them now…”

India Today Anti Fake News War Room (AFWA) has found the claim along with the pictures to be misleading. The one-year-old pictures are from Venezuela.

The misleading post has been circulating like wildfire on social media. With the help of reverse search, we found that these pictures are available on the Internet since March 2019, several months before the coronavirus outbreak.

A report by “Snopes” says these pictures were taken in Venezuela in March 2019. The currency seen lying on the streets is Venezuela’s old currency, the Bolívar Fuerte, which was replaced by a new form of currency, the Bolivar Soberano, in August 2018. Venezuelans threw their old notes on the streets as they became worthless for them.

It was also reported that people in Venezuela looted a bank and then burned the money to show that it was worthless. Many journalists had tweeted pictures with the same information.

Till 7pm on Tuesday, Italy reported more than 11,000 coronavirus deaths and over one lakh infections. But the viral pictures are old and have nothing to do with the Covid-19 pandemic.

(India Today Fact Check is part of IFCN Alliance on Covid-19)

The Author

Chinenye Nwabueze

Nwabueze is a communication researcher with several years of lecturing experience in Nigerian universities.

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