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Some of the Most-Shared Images of the Amazon Rainforest Fires Are Old or Are Not Of the Amazon

Social media helped rise reporting of the wildfires, but
it's also contributing to misrepresentation. There's no question that numerous
parts of the Amazon rainforest are on fire, and humans are probable cause of the blazes.

Image result for Some of the most-shared images of the Amazon rainforest fires are old or are not of the Amazon

In Brazil alone, there are 80% more fires in 2019 than
there were last year, according to the country's space research center. More
than half of the fires in Brazil are in its Amazon area. Satellite imageries
are helping reveal just how many fires there are, and how much of their smoke
has spread across the country. But photos on social media are conflating the present
crisis with previous fires.

One such photograph -- one of the most-shared photographs
on social media -- displays a lush forest with an enormous wall of smoke rising
from a fire. Musical artist and actor Jaden Smith shared
the image on his Instagram, where it gathered over a million likes. YouTube celeb
Logan Paul shared the image on Twitter, too.

Yes, the picture displays the Amazon rainforest in
Brazil. But it's not of the recent fires. It's almost 30 years old: the
Guardian, which republished the photo in 2007, says it was taken in June 1989. Entertainment
websites like 9gag and
UNILAD both are sharing the photo on their websites. Their social media posts conspicuously
featuring the photo have tens of thousands of shares.

Another photo viral on social media claims to also display
the Amazon rainforest on fire. Leonardo DiCaprio shared it on his Instagram and
it has over 3 million likes. Even the Rainforest Trust, which is requesting people to donate
to help halt deforestation, shared it on its Twitter account. But it's certainly
not showing the present fires in the Amazon. CNN discovered it on a website published in 2018. Actor David Licauco shared four
photos -- all of which are not of the present wildfires in the Amazon.

The two photos on the right are not even of an Amazon
wildfire. The top image is from a 2018 wildfire in Sweden; the bottom is of a wildfire in Montana on August 6, 2000. The most distressing
photos being shared are the burnt remains of animals, or animals trying to
escape wildfires. Blogger Nathalie Muñoz shared a series of photos about the
Amazon rainforest fires.

The photograph of the monkey crying, holding a younger
monkey, is not in the Amazon. It was taken in Jabalpur, India, by Avinash Lodhi sometime in April 2016. And the photo
of the scorched rabbit is from the 2018 wildfire in Malibu, California.

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