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Hurricane Dorian has slowed over the Bahamas, but online misinformation about the massive storm hasn’t.
A Facebook photo published Sept. 2 purports to show hurricane damage on the Abaco Islands in the northern Bahamas. It shows a few buildings standing amid piles of rubble near what looks like the ocean.
"Pray for the Bahamas. This is Abaco Island," the post reads. "The Bahamas holds a special place in my heart and waking up to this picture of the devastation from Dorian is heartbreaking."
The post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.) And it’s been shared more than 1,500 times, so we decided to check it out.
PolitiFact messaged the user who posted the photo to see where they got it, but we haven’t heard back.
A reverse image search for the photo pointed us to a story from WKRG-TV in Mobile, Ala., which was originally published by WFLA-TV in Tampa. The lead photo for that article, captured by Getty Images, is identical to the one published on Facebook.
But that story was published May 23 — before Hurricane Dorian formed in the Atlantic Ocean. The caption indicates that the image was taken Oct. 17, 2018, in Mexico Beach, Fla., after Hurricane Michael — a storm that caused catastrophic damage in the Florida Panhandle.
However, early reports and images from the Bahamas, and the Abaco Islands specifically, do indicate that there has been widespread devastation. The New York Times reported that thousands of homes have been destroyed, and early images from the Associated Press show flooding and structural damage.
The Facebook post is not accurate. We rate it False.
CBS News, "Scientists upgrade last year's Hurricane Michael to rare Category 5 storm," April 19, 2019
Facebook post, Sept. 2, 2019
National Hurricane Center, Hurricane Dorian, accessed Sept. 3, 2019
The New York Times, "Abaco Islands, at a Remove From the Bahamas’ Resorts, Feel Dorian’s Wrath," Sept. 3, 2019
WKRG-TV, "Hurricane supplies you can buy tax-free during Florida sales tax holiday," May 23, 2019
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