flooding

Debris is strewn Friday in the Blessem district of Erftstadt, Germany, after heavy rains caused mudslides and flooding in the western part of Germany. On Friday, The Associated Press reported on stories circulating online incorrectly asserting a manipulated photo showing a BMW caught in floodwaters with an anti-Greta Thunberg sticker on its rear window. But, photojournalist David Young, who captured the original, unaltered photo for the German media outlet Bild in the city of Wuppertal, says, “It is my photo, and it has been manipulated. … The sticker is fake.”

CLAIM: Photo shows German car caught in floodwaters with anti-Greta Thunberg sticker on rear window.

THE FACTS: Last week, as severe floods in Germany and Belgium turned streets into raging torrents, a manipulated photo circulated on social media that appears to show a BMW half-submerged in the floodwaters with a sticker bearing vulgar language toward Thunberg.

The sticker, which was added digitally to the original image, was an apparent reference to Thunberg, the well-known Swedish environmental activist. Twitter users shared the manipulated photo and claimed it was “ironic” and an example of “karma.”

The original, unaltered photo, was featured in a July 16 article about car water damage during severe weather by the German media outlet Bild. Photographer David Young captured the photo for Bild in the city of Wuppertal last week. The sticker does not appear in the original photo.

“It is my photo, and it has been manipulated,” Young told The AP in a call. “The sticker is fake.”