FACT CHECK: Did Deutsche Welle Publish This Article About Anti-Vaccine Protesters Kissing Each Other?

Hannah Hudnall | Fact Check Reporter

An image shared on Facebook allegedly shows a Deutsche Welle (DW) article titled “German anti-vaccine protests outrage public health officials as thousands gather to kiss each other.”

Verdict: False

There is no record of DW publishing the article. The image has been fabricated.

Fact Check:

One iteration of the purported screen grab of the DW article about Germans kissing in protest of COVID-19 vaccines has garnered over 500 reactions since being shared on Facebook Dec. 3. The sub-headline in the alleged article reads, “Lawmakers consider law to criminalize kissing in public spaces.”

On Dec. 3, a group of people carrying torches protested against COVID-19 mitigation measures outside the house of Saxony Health Minister Petra Koepping, AFP reported. Over the course of the pandemic, there have been numerous protests against the German government’s COVID-19 policies.

However, Check Your Fact found no evidence DW published the article in the Facebook post. A keyword search yielded zero matches for a story reporting on such a vaccine-related protest occurring in Germany. It also cannot be found on DW’s verified Facebook or Twitter account.

“DW never published an article with this headline,” Joscha Weber, DW’s head of fact-checking, confirmed in an email, also directing Check Your Fact to an article the outlet published debunking the image. “It’s completely made up.” (RELATED: Did Vox Publish This Article Calling The ‘Bunny Ear’ Shoe-Tying Method Racist?)

The image of couples kissings that’s featured in the fabricated screen grab does not show a German protest against COVID-19 vaccines, either. A reverse image search traced the picture back to the European Pressphoto Agency website, where the caption reads, “Couples take part in the World Kiss Marathon for Education at a square in Santiago, Chile, on 1 September 2011. The students demand better education opportunities in their country.”

It can also be seen on the website BestMastersPrograms.org, where it provides a similar explanation about the photo.

Hannah Hudnall

Fact Check Reporter

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