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• The image has been altered and does not depict a real news story.
• The photo of the mannequin was from a simulation that did not depict real events.
A social media post uses a doctored image to make the baseless claim that news about hospitals being overwhelmed by patients with the omicron variant of COVID-19 is trickery.
The image, shared in a Jan. 7 post on Instagram, has been altered to look like a screenshot of a TV news broadcast. It includes a photo of a medical setting with a mannequin that has no left arm lying on a bed under a plastic tent; the logo of French station BFM TV; and a chyron written in French.
A headline above the image says, "France: Hospitals are so saturated with the omicron variant that there is not even time to put the arms to the mannequins for the media."
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.)
The image of the purported news broadcast was assembled from other images, and does not depict a real TV news story. And the photo of the mannequin was from a simulation that did not depict real events.
The caption on the Instagram post furthers the falsehood that the COVID-19 pandemic has been exaggerated or manufactured. It says, "Why did I see so many mannequins on TV during a so-called pandemic? That’s like the fifth time I’ve seen one of those LMAO." The hashtag says #Plandemic, a reference to a 2020 video that was full of conspiracy theories about the coronavirus.
The hospital photo in the image is a screenshot from an April 2020 promotional video by the Quebec Heart and Lung Institute in Canada; it shows medical staff practicing procedures on a mannequin. The video is labeled as a simulation.
The news station logo and chyron are from a Nov. 22 television news broadcast by BFM TV. The segment was about French Prime Minister Jean Castex testing positive for COVID-19 and showed Castex standing behind a podium.
We rate the Instagram post Pants on Fire!
BFM TV, "Jean Castex a été testé positif au Covid-19," Nov. 22, 2021
Instagram post, Jan. 7, 2022
PolitiFact, "Fact-checking ‘Plandemic’: A documentary full of false conspiracy theories about the coronavirus," May 7, 2020
YouTube, "L'Institut au temps de la COVID-19 : simulation aux soins intensifs (vidéo promotionnelle 2)," April 23, 2020
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