A viral, fake Hurricane Sandy photo migrates to China


The Chinese Web has picked up on one of the most popular photos from Hurricane Sandy. It's from Brigantine, N.J., and purports to show a shark swimming through the town's flooded streets. It was originally posted by a guy named Kevin McCarty, who earlier posted another shark-in-Jersey photo that TheAtlantic.com's Alexis Madrigal demonstrated was fake. It's been shared almost 7,000 times on Facebook and has now made its way over to China, where users on the country's massive Twitter-like service, Weibo, picked it up. (Spotted by Bloomberg columnist Adam Minter.)

In a testament to the international media coverage that Sandy has received, the Weibo user identified "the U.S. hurricane" as the photo's source. He added of the shark, "In China, it would've been cooked already."

In case there was any doubt just how similar the Chinese and American social Webs are becoming, this is a case where both picked up an almost certainly fake photo from a major news event, and both passed it around in amazement and with pithy, gently self-mocking comments. One U.S. Facebook user commented, "dinner!! get the rod!!!!!! shark steaks!!!" 

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Max Fisher · October 30, 2012