A photo of mass demonstrations in Moscow in 1991 is circulating online as “evidence” of large crowds protesting COVID-19 restrictions and vaccine mandates in Austria in November 2021. Let’s take a look at the facts.
Photos of large crowds are often used out of context (see here, here, here and here) to exaggerate the public’s response to a given news event or cause. In fact, this is such a common tactic that it has become a satirical misinformation meme online. Similar to astroturfing campaigns, these tricks of context distort perceptions of public sentiment in an effort to manipulate others.
Related: “This video shows football fans marching through an Austrian town in 2019, not an anti-lockdown rally” (AFP Fact Check).
- “Fact Check: Viral Photo Does NOT Show Anti-Vax Protest In Austria -- It's 30-Year-Old Picture Of Political Protest In The Soviet Union” (Christiana Dillard, Lead Stories).
- “Fact check: Image shows 1991 protest in Moscow, not anti-lockdown demonstration in Vienna” (McKenzie Sadeghi, USA Today).
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