Not Real News

On Friday, The Associated Press reported on a photo circulating online incorrectly asserting it shows boats covered with ice in a marina in Galveston, Texas, during this week’s record freeze. The scene was actually from Lake Geneva from the 2005 storm pictured in this similar photo.

CLAIM: Photo shows boats covered with ice in a marina in Galveston, Texas, during this week’s record freeze.

THE FACTS: As massive storms pummeled the southern Plains with snow, sleet and freezing rain this week, leaving millions without heat or electricity, a viral photo falsely claimed to show the severity of the cold in Galveston, Texas. The image, viewed more than 100,000 times on Facebook, featured a row of boats tied to a dock and covered in a thick layer of ice. “Meanwhile in Galveston,” read one post with the image. “Galveston Texas today,” read another post Tuesday. “This is a historic pic. Wow.” However, a reverse-image search reveals the photo of the frozen boats was taken more than a decade ago, and has gone viral online several times before this week. The image was originally captured by Swiss photographer Jean-Pierre Scherrer in Geneva, Switzerland, in 2005, according to posts on PBase.com, an online photo blog. Scherrer took several pictures of frozen boats, cars and trees near Lake Geneva after an ice storm. A note from Scherrer on the photo-sharing site clarifies that his photos were indeed taken in Geneva, Switzerland, not Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, or elsewhere. Even though the image is being shared in the wrong context, it’s true that severe winter weather has covered large swaths of Texas, including Galveston, in snow and ice.

— Ali Swenson