“Finally the devil found dead on the beach of Pacific Ocean,” the caption reads. “Now the world can live at peace.”
Data from CrowdTangle, Facebook’s public insights tool, reveals that the post has been shared in two public group pages with a combined membership of more than 1 million.
But is the strange creature real? We checked.
‘Montauk Monster’ plus beached whale
Africa Check cropped the image and ran it through Google image search. This revealed that it resembles a photo of an unidentified but much smaller creature that reportedly washed up on a beach in Montauk, a village in the US state of New York, in 2008.
The “Montauk Monster” became an internet sensation in 2008, with much speculation about what the creature could be. The eventual and most likely explanation was that it was the body of a partially decomposed racoon, bloated from spending time in seawater. The beak-like structure on its face was in fact the racoon’s upper jaw with the flesh rotted away.
The image shared on Facebook is a manipulated version of the Montauk Monster photo, flipped horizontally and with its colour changed. But what about the beach, ocean and people in the image?
Another reverse image search led us to a photo of a dead whale that beached at Maule on the Gulf of Arauco in Chile in November 2011. The photo is credited to Reuters news agency and was taken by Jose Luis Saavedra.
The image is fake, a composite of two different photos that have been online for many years. – Dancan Bwire
For publishers: what to do if your post is rated false
A fact-checker has rated your Facebook or Instagram post as “false”. What should you do? First, don't delete!
Click on our guide for the steps you should follow.
Africa Check teams up with Facebook
Africa Check is a partner in Facebook’s third-party fact-checking programme to help stop the spread of false information on social media.
The content we rate as “false” will be downgraded on Facebook and Instagram. This means fewer people will see it.
You can also help identify false information on Facebook. This guide explains how.