France 24:-The photos of the huge floods currently submerging Texas are shocking enough — but some people have started posting fake images online, only adding to the storm of fake news around the disaster.
Hurricane Harvey — later downgraded to a tropical storm — is the biggest storm in the history of the state, resulting in serious flooding and a record amount of rainfall. A state of emergency has been declared, and over 20 people are reported dead. More than 13,000 people have been rescued.
Some pretty shocking images have circulated on social media, such as this one of an alligator swimming in someone’s garden, or whole families sitting on the roofs of their houses awaiting rescue.
The man who tweeted it out quickly added that it was fake news, but not before it had already started to gain traction online. He has not yet deleted it, but wrote a long blog post explaining why he deliberately posted a fake image. He wrote that these kinds of images are “bubble gum for the brain” – easy to create, easy to turn viral, and dangerous if co-opted by more “sinister” groups. He concludes, “If this tweet did all this in one day, imagine what is being done by well-funded, highly ideological, and heretofore fringe extreme right-wing political groups.”
It’s not all sharks. Since Friday, several right-wing websites have stated that emergency services were unable to get to Houston to help people needing rescue because of Black Lives Matter activists deliberately blocking the road in protest against President Donald Trump.