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Amazon fires: how celebrities are spreading misinformation

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Many high-profile figures seeking to denounce the fires in the Amazon — from Madonna and Cristiano Ronaldo to Leonardo DiCaprio and Emmanuel Macron — have unwittingly ended up misleading millions on social media, either sharing photographs of the region that are years old or images taken in other parts of the world.

Official figures show nearly 73,000 forest fires were recorded in Brazil in the first eight months of the year, the highest number for any year since 2013. Most were in the Amazon.

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– Leaders –

“Our house is on fire. Literally. The Amazon, the lung of our planet which produces 20 percent of our oxygen is burning,” France’s President Emmanuel Macron said on Twitter, posting a photograph of a burning forest (1) accompanied by the hashtag #ActForTheAmazon.

“It is an international crisis. Members of the G7, let’s talk in two days about this emergency,” Macron said ahead of a planned summit this weekend in Biarritz.

But the photograph used by the French leader does not show this year’s fires. A reverse image search showed that it was taken by the American photojournalist Loren McIntyre, known for his work for National Geographic.

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Although the image search tool does not reveal when exactly the photograph was taken, McIntyre died in 2003, meaning the image is at least 16 years old.

(1) https://perma.cc/D93C-AYL7

Chile’s president, Sebastian Pinera, also ended up tweeting a misleading image to issue a warning about the fires, using a photograph (2) by Reuters journalist Nacho Doce from 2013.

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(2) https://perma.cc/6D8D-39L8

– Actors –

GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP/File / Alberto E. Rodriguez  Leonardo DiCaprio June 5 ,2019

Leonardo DiCaprio shared two pictures that proved to be inaccurate — the first (3) was the same one shared by Macron while the second (4) was shot in the Peruvian city of Puerto Maldonado in 2016.

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Peru is not currently affected by the fires, though authorities are “on alert”.

(3) https://perma.cc/Z24S-L6PM

(4) https://perma.cc/P2CG-ZHA9

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Actor and rapper Jaden Smith, son of superstar Will Smith, posted a dramatic image (5) on Instagram that shows a vast forest on fire as huge columns of smoke rise from it. But the photo, which has garnered more than 1.5 million likes, dates back to 1989.

(5) https://perma.cc/CZD3-6PZZ

Argentine actress and singer Martina Stoessel also shared an old photo (6) with a Twitter post saying, “How sad to see this…”. That picture was shot by Getty Images photographer Mario Toma in 2014.

(6) https://perma.cc/3YLS-H8SG

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– Sports stars –

AFP / Ben STANSALL Novak Djokovic, July14,2019

F1 driver Lewis Hamilton (7) and Brazil soccer captain Dani Alves (8) also posted one of the most widely shared misleading images — the picture taken by photographer McIntyre before 2003.

(7) https://perma.cc/S5UF-GTTB

(8) https://perma.cc/F67M-TTZU

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Meanwhile tennis star Novak Djokovic (9) shared the 1989 photo posted by Smith.

(9) https://perma.cc/SCS9-KPEW

Portuguese soccer superstar Cristiano Ronaldo sounded the alarm on Instagram, alerting his 180 million followers that “the Amazon Rainforest produces more than 20% of the world’s oxygen and its been burning for the past 3 weeks.” But the photo (10) accompanying his message was taken on March 29, 2013 by Lauro Alves, from the Brazilian agency RBS, in the non-Amazonian state of Rio Grande do Sul.

(10) https://perma.cc/5H4H-GKTB

Barca striker Luis Suarez also posted an old photo (11) dating back to 2015 and shot by journalist Nacho Doce.

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(11) https://perma.cc/3TVF-4TSR

– Singers –

Puerto Rican pop star Ricky Martin (13) and Cuban-American singer Camila Cabello (14) also shared the McIntyre photo tweeted by Macron, DiCaprio and Alves.

(13) https://perma.cc/2L2Y-58KL

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(14) https://perma.cc/LVH8-CCW2

US superstar Madonna posted the same 1989 image (15) shared by Smith and Djokovic, writing on Instagram: “President Bolsonaro please change your policies and help not only your country but the entire planet. No economic development is more important than protecting this land.”

“We need to WAKE -UP!!” she wrote.


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
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UK travel giant Thomas Cook set to collapse: report

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Thomas Cook's 178-year existence was reported to be coming to an end on Monday after the British travel firm struggled to find private investment to keep it afloat, potentially affecting thousands of holidaymakers.

The operator has said it needs £200 million ($250 million) or else it will face administration, which could affect 600,000 holidaymakers and require Britain's largest peacetime repatriation.

A source close to the negotiations told AFP that the company had failed to find the cash from private investors and would collapse unless the government intervened.

But ministers are unlikely to step in due to worries about the pioneering operator's longer-term viability, the Times reported, leaving it on the brink.

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‘We are the people’: Watch Billy Porter get a standing ovation for his passionate speech at the Emmys

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In a powerful and passionate speech accepting his Emmy, "Pose" actor Billy Porter showered the audience with love and proudly reminded all of their right to belong and be loved.

"Oh, my God. God bless you all! The category is love, y'all, love!" Porter exclaimed.

The epic FX show "Pose" depicts Black and Latinos in the LGBTQ ballroom culture of New York City in the 1980s in the first season and the early 1990s in the second season.

"I am so overwhelmed and so overjoyed to have lived long enough to see this day," he said. "James Baldwin wrote, 'It took many years of vomiting up the filth I was taught about myself and half-believed, before I was able to walk on the earth as though I had a right to be here.' I have the right. You have the right. We all have the right."

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Paris show of King Tutankhamun artifacts set new record with 1.42 million visitors

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A blockbuster Tutankhamun show set a new all-time French record Sunday, with 1.42 million visitors flocking to see the exhibition in Paris, the organisers said.

The turnout beat the previous record set by another Tutankhamun show billed as the "exhibition of the century" in 1967, when 1.24 million queued to see "Tutankhamun and His Times" at the Petit Palais.

"Tutankhamun: Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh" -- which has been described as a "once in a generation" show -- will open in London in November.

The last time a show of comparable size about the boy king opened there in 1972 it sparked "Tutmania", with 1.6 million people thronging the British Museum.

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