The coronavirus pandemic has taught us many things, one of which is to verify anything you read about it – and, in fact, to make sure you’re reading about it from a reliable source in the first place.
This lesson was drilled home earlier this week by AFP Fact Check, the verification service of global news platform Agence France-Presse.
The ‘fun’ started, as ever, with a photo that ended up being shared thousands of times across Facebook and Twitter. The picture shows a huge bridge in an urban area, swarming with tens or probably hundreds of thousands of people. Somewhere along the line, a user who shared the photo claimed the image was taken from the widely-reported Berlin protests against coronavirus restrictions. As is so often the way, that claim rapidly gained traction and snowballed. Many cited it as an example of the huge numbers protesting in the city, with some even claiming that the photo showed people marching towards the Brandenburg Gate.
Protests did indeed take place in Berlin, but as AFP Fact Check discovered, the photo was actually a snap from Street Parade 2018 in Switzerland. For anyone not familiar with Street Parade, it’s a truly vast event that takes in place in Zurich every year, reportedly drawing up to one million people who come to celebrate love, tolerance and general togetherness through the medium of dance music – and a giant street party.
The bridge is Quaibrücke, running over the Limmat river, at the northern end of Lake Zurich. And all AFP Fact Check had to do to find this out was a pretty simple reverse image search on Google. Here’s a screen-shot of the photo in question, taken from the Street Parade website’s 2018 photo archive.
We’re also guessing that anyone who attended the 2018 Street Parade could have set the facts straight. Or, in fact, anyone who’s ever been to Street Parade at any time. Or anyone who lives in Zurich, or probably the whole of Switzerland.
All of which goes to show that we still need to be very careful about what we read and where we read it, now more than ever. Read the AFP Fact Check article for the full breakdown of what happened.
Unsurprisingly, Street Parade won’t be making an appearance this year, with the next edition scheduled for August 2021. But if you’re looking for other summer fun to replace it, take a good look at our guide on how to have an awesome summer in Switzerland.