A 2010 photo of police shoving and kicking a group of G-20 summit protesters in Toronto is circulating out of context online with claims that it shows police cracking down on “Freedom Convoy” protesters in Canada. Let’s take a look at the facts.
When major developments in a protest movement occur, supporters often seek out photos and video to share online to promote their cause. But some supporters go so far as to steal more dramatic visuals from other contexts to help their message go viral on social media. For example, purveyors of disinformation often seek out old photos and video of large crowds — at other protests, but also at nonpolitical events like music festivals and sports team rallies — to inflate the degree of grassroots support for a cause. This particular rumor is aimed at a different approach: exaggerating the degree or intensity of opposition to garner sympathy. Because these visuals are generally powerful, and typically align with actual events, they are often readily accepted by other supporters online. This is another reminder to double-check the authenticity of photos and videos of controversial events from sources you don’t recognize online.
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