VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Post on Italy ‘throwing money in streets’ amid COVID crisis NOT TRUE

Multiple Facebook (FB) users published a post showing two photos of streets littered with banknotes, falsely claiming Italians have thrown away their money as an “indication” that wealth is “worthless” if it can’t save you from disease. The European country has the third-highest number of COVID-19 cases globally.

The post’s claim is not true. The photos were taken in Venezuela in South America over a year ago.

The earliest traceable copy of the image showing men on a sidewalk looking at scattered paper bills on a street is a netizen’s March 12, 2019 tweet. It showed the aftermath of the looting a day earlier of the Bicentennial Bank in Merida, Venezuela, where the thieves, upon realizing they stole bolivar fuerte, the country’s old currency, scattered the money on the streets, according to several news reports.

The other photo, which shows a close up of a gutter filled with cash, is traced to a March 17, 2019 upload on image sharing site Imgur, titled, “This is what happens when a currency has lost all its value, Venezuela.”

Published from April 21 to 27, eight iterations of the false post flagged by VERA Files Fact Check feature a screengrab of an earlier FB post, where the publisher and publishing date have been cropped out. It has collectively been shared by over 1,500 people on FB.

Earlier this month, several fact checking organizations worldwide debunked the same posts.

(Editor's Note: VERA Files has partnered with Facebook to fight the spread of disinformation. Find out more about this partnership and our methodology.)


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About Vera Files

Founded in March 2008, VERA Files is published by veteran Filipino journalists taking a deeper look into current Philippine issues. Vera is Latin for “true.”

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