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Devastating photos of wildlife caught in Australia’s unrelenting wildfires are circulating all over social media.
Some of the photos were taken during previous fires in different countries, too, like this photo of a deer standing amid burned rubble in California.
On its own, the viral deer image is uncaptioned. But it was posted as part of a photo gallery that included a post that reads in part, "Huge wildfire in Australia has resulted in deaths of more than 480 milion animals."Australia’s bushfires. We rated that post Mostly False after finding that many of the images are several years old and weren’t taken in Australia to begin with.
The image 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.)
This photo shows the aftermath of the deadly Camp Fire that killed over 85 people and burned hundreds of thousands of acres in Northern California in 2018.
This image is authentic, but it does not show destruction from Australia’s wildfires. Given the context in which it has been presented, we rate this viral image Mostly False.
Facebook post, Jan. 4, 2020
University of Sydney, A statement about the 480 million animals killed in NSW bushfires since September, Jan. 3, 2020
PolitiFact, Several photos of animals in viral post not from Australia fires, or this year, Jan. 7, 2020
Tin Eye, reverse-image search, Jan. 7, 2020
Getty Images, US-FIRE-CALIFORNIA-ENVIRONMENT-WEATHER, Nov. 10, 2018
SF Gate, Camp Fire: Death toll rises to 42 as coroner’s recovery crews find more bodies, Nov. 12, 2018
PBS, Camp Fire: By the Numbers, Oct. 29, 2019
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