FACT CHECK: Does This Image Show A Boy In The Aftermath Of The Turkey Earthquake?

Elias Atienza | Fact Check Reporter

An image shared on Facebook claims to show a boy in the aftermath of the Turkey earthquake.

Verdict: False

The image is a stock photo. The photo has been circulating online since 2021.

Fact Check:

A 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit Turkey and Syria, killing over 4,300 people and destroying thousands of buildings, according to The New York Times. The earthquake was felt in other countries such as Israel and Egypt, while Turkey was also hit by aftershocks, including a 7.5 magnitude one, the outlet reported.

The Facebook image shows a boy crying among piles of rubble from what appears to be the aftermath of the earthquake. The image was shared widely on Facebook and Twitter, with one tweet receiving over 86,000 views.

The image is not from the earthquake, however. Through a reverse image search, Check Your Fact found that the image is actually a stock photo taken by Ukrainian photographer Zapylaieva Hanna and was published on several stock image websites such as Shutterstock and Adobe.

“boy crying among the ruins,” the photo’s caption reads. The description does not give any information on where or when the photo was taken. However, the image does appear in a November 2020 article from Turkish-based outlet A3Haber. (RELATED: Did Lauren Boebert Tweet Being In A ‘Well-Intentioned Coup’ Doesn’t Make You A Traitor?)

A search on the reverse image search engine Tineye shows that the image has been circulating since 2021. Actual images of the disaster have been taken by several news agencies such as Reuters, Getty Images and The Associated Press.

Hanna directed Check Your Fact to a Feb. 7 Facebook post from her where she explains how the image was taken.

“2018. Easter. Kostya, my husband, and Leva, and I went for a walk in Goloseevsky Park. And since at that moment I was shooting something every day for sale on photobanks – with a camera,” Hanna wrote. “There was an old destroyed building near the park. Abandoned buildings are always interesting. I thought I would take some pictures that might illustrate something other than the joy of life. Like wars, earthquakes… We did a small series of shots, I added them on Adobe and Shutterstock and forgot all about them.”

She added that “the same photo was used in many illustrations for news about Ukraine, including on the YouTube channel of the Pope” in a Facebook message to Check Your Fact.

Social media users often take old footage and claim it shows a current event. For example, Check Your Fact recently debunked a video claiming to show looting in Memphis after the death of Tyre Nichols. The video was from 2019 and took place in Canada.

Update: This article has been updated with a comment from Hanna.

Elias Atienza

Fact Check Reporter
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