A horrifying photo has surfaced on Facebook, one that claims the dead, charred bodies in the photo are Christians burnt alive by Muslims in Nigera. Is this photo real or fake?
The photo is real, but the story attached to it is fake.
Let’s first take a look at what is being shared. A common caption reads reads:
Christians burnt alive by Sunni Muslims in NIGERIA…(Posted by Jillian Becker in Africa, Arab States, Christianity, Christians burnt alive by Sunni Muslims, Islam, Muslims, jihad)…..PLEASE SHARE IT OR JUST UPLOAD YOUR OWN…BUT SOMEHOW SPREAD IT IF YOU’RE EVEN 1% CHRISTIAN — It is still not over yet! —
The photo and story have been angrily shared by readers unaware that photo does not depict an act of violence, but the aftermath of an accident.
Loonwatch.com already took this photo to task with an excellent dissertation, yet the story continues to be passed around. That site will show you that the charred bodes were in fact a result of a tanker explosion in the Congo. Because they have already posted an authoritative rebuttal to this photo, such a discussion isn’t necessary here. I urge you to read their blog if you have any doubts about the photo.
This is just another example of social media’s tendency to post first and ask questions later. Such was the case when a photo of dead coyotes hanging from a fence was posted on Facebook and attributed to unspecified “Spanish” culprits with no corroborating links. When readers see these heart-tugging photos in their Facebook news feed, the knee-jerk reaction by many is the re-post with an angry comment. Doing so when the story ends up being fake makes the re-poster an inadvertent proponent of a hoax.
Another popular photo on Facebook, that of a child in a hospital bed, is yet another heart-wrenching photo that most people assume is a child in need of medical aid, when in fact it was a photo of him post-surgery.
It’s unfortunate that someone would take a horrible accident and create a new divisive, hateful story from it in order to promote their point of view.
If you see something on Facebook or Twitter that enrages you, it may be wise to investigate the story first before angrily commenting and re-posting. Doing so on a fake story will invite comments by friends such as “That’s a fake story.” Sharing or commenting on such a fake photo makes those who share it pawns of the originator, in this case a hate-mongering blog playing on the fears and differences of religious beliefs.
In that regard, the promoter of the fake story had to result to pathetic and desperate means to get readers fired up, rather than posting solid, engaging content.
If someone re-posts a story on Facebook, think again before re-posting it. If they post a story that enrages you, think twice.