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Ciara O'Rourke
By Ciara O'Rourke April 9, 2020

Photos show money on the streets of Venezuela in 2019, not Italy in 2020

If Your Time is short

  • These photos show devalued Venezuelan bolivars in Venezuela in the spring of 2019. 
  • In Italy, some people are reportedly struggling to feed their families because they’ve run out money.

As of April 8, more than 17,000 people have died from COVID-19 in Italy, according to Johns Hopkins University. And because only people who die in hospitals are counted in the national tally, CBS reported, that’s likely an underestimate as people perish elsewhere.

On social media, people are sharing what appear to be dramatic illustrations of the devastation the coronavirus has caused in the region — paper money lining city streets. 

"In Italy, they have thrown their money on the streets," a description of the two photos says. "A clear message to the whole world that money is not enough when health is in danger." 

This 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.) 

Featured Fact-check

That’s because the images are from March 2019 and show devalued Venezuelan bolivars in the streets of Venezuela, not Italy.

In Italy, the BBC reported on April 8, people are struggling to feed their families after spending their savings while they were unable to work and earn money during the country’s lockdown to slow the spread of the coronavirus. 

The Facebook post misrepresents by altering the true context of the photos. We rate it False.


Our Sources

Facebook post, April 5, 2020

Johns Hopkins University, Coronavirus COVID-19 global cases, visited April 8, 2020

CBS, Italy’s coronavirus death toll is likely much higher: "Most deaths simply aren’t counted," April 7, 2020

Maduradas, TERRIBLE! Hooded men looted Bicentennial bank in Merida and scattered bolivars of the old monetary cone through the streets, March 12, 2019

Imgur, This is what happens when a currency has lost all of its value, Venezuela, March 16, 2019

Descifrando la Guerra tweet, March 12, 2019

BBC, Coronavirus: The Italians are struggling to feed their families, April 8, 2020

Steve Hanks tweet, April 15, 2019

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Photos show money on the streets of Venezuela in 2019, not Italy in 2020

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