A group of images have been going viral on social media, claiming that people in Italy have given up on money due to the ongoing severe COVID-19 pandemic. However, the story is false and misleading.
The claim comes with one or two images, both showing what looks like currency notes scattered on the road and the gutter. The message along with it usually says:
“इटली में कोरोना से मरते लोगों ने अपनी दौलत सड़कों पर फेंक दी। उनका कहना है कि ये किसी काम की नहीं”
Translation: “People dying of coronavirus in Italy have thrown their money on the streets. They say that it is of no use to them”
The claim has been viral on various social media platform.
Following post has been shared by 500 people
It found its way on Twitter too, Dr. Uditraj (National Spokesperson, AICC), used a link of above Facebook post and shared it with the following caption:
“सच क्या है क्या नही।यह fb पर पोस्ट है।लोग इटली में सड़क पर पैसा फेंक दिया है कि इस महामारी ये किस कम का।ख़ैर जो भी हो लेकिन अम्बानी से ज़्यादा धन वाले मदिर पैसे का क्या करेंगे?बाल बच्चे हैं नही,ग़रीबों को तो काम आ जाए।”
सच क्या है क्या नही।यह fb पर पोस्ट है।लोग इटली में सड़क पर पैसा फेंक दिया है कि इस महामारी ये किस कम का।ख़ैर जो भी हो लेकिन अम्बानी से ज़्यादा धन वाले मदिर पैसे का क्या करेंगे?बाल बच्चे हैं नही,ग़रीबों को तो काम आ जाए। https://t.co/xG9G0FYApD
— Dr. Udit Raj (@Dr_Uditraj) March 31, 2020
Although the images are real, the caption viral along with them is false. It’s neither Coronavirus related i.e. recent, nor from Italy.
A simple reverse-search of the image suggests that the images first emerged in March 2019 in Venezuela. After severe hyperinflation in the country, many Venezuelans took to the streets and threw OLD currency notes in protest. It was widely covered at the time, including the images in question.
The bicentenario bank in Merida was looted, people left the Venezuelan bolivars behind and left the money on the street and set fire to piles of Venezuelan bolivars to prove its worthless #Venezuela #SinLuz pic.twitter.com/YJlT2qFPrY
— CNW (@ConflictsW) March 11, 2019
This is not the first instance of these images used with wrong captions. As soon as a month after the actual incident, the images were shared with captions that displayed the whole situation as a failure of socialism. US Fact-checking website Snopes debunked it in April 2019.
The images have also been used widely in various countries since the COVID-19 epidemic began. It was viral in Pakistan and was debunked by Stefano Pontecorvo (https://twitter.com/pontecorvoste), former ambassador of Italy in Pakistan.
A Venezuela informative website, Maduradas, published the following on 12th March 2019
“TERRIBLE! Hooded men looted Bicentennial bank in Merida and scattered bolivars of the old monetary cone through the streets (+ Photos)”
Vandalizaron el Banco Bicentenario de la Av. 3 en Ciudad de #Mérida y esparcieron en la calle billetes del cono monetario viejo. Ya el estado cumple 4 días #SinLuz.@ReporteYa pic.twitter.com/OC6xnTgidX
— Segovia Bastidas (@SegoviaBastidas) March 11, 2019
FAKE. While the images are genuine, the caption along with it is completely false and misleading.