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A digital creator made these photos using artificial intelligence.
A few months ago, false claims using artificial intelligence-generated images said Target was selling children’s clothes with satanic imagery. Now, a viral social media post is using AI-generated images as evidence of satanism in public schools.
A woman in an Aug. 22 Facebook reel said, "Seen what’s going on in public schools around the United States? Watch this." The video then shows six photos of children sitting around a pentagram, wearing horns or being read to by goat-headed figures.
This post was flagged as part of Meta’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.)
A reverse-image search led to the photos’ original source: They were posted May 2 on Facebook by a digital creator whose account is called "The Pumpkin Empress." All six photos were from a photo set captioned, "Don’t forget to support your local BBC ((Baphomet Book Club))."
The creator "had to edit this (May 2) post because of the amount of uneducated people in my inbox and on my post," and said the photos were "not real. I created these pics with AI (artificial intelligence) software. The children are not real, this never happened."
The creator posted again May 8 with a screenshot of one of the photos and explained how it was created using Midjourney, an AI image generator.
We rate the claim that photos are evidence of "satanism in public schools" False.
PolitiFact, Target is not selling children’s clothes with satanic imagery. Photos are AI-generated, June 6, 2023
PolitiFact, The devil’s not in the details; occult images of Target are AI-generated, July 18, 2023
PolitiFact, Target no vende ropa con motivos satánicos. Las fotos son generadas por inteligencia artificial, June 27, 2023
Facebook post by "The Pumpkin Empress," May 8, 2023
PolitiFact, Hell of a school day: Photos don’t show kids in a satanic club. They were made with AI, July 21, 2023
Agence France-Presse Fact Check, Social media users fall for AI-generated images of children 'engaging in satanic ritual', May 14, 2023
Africa Check, Don’t believe images of satanic figures reading to children – ‘Baphomet Book Club’ photos are AI-generated, May 31, 2023
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