He was describing the photo he’d posted showing a pink and hairless human-like creature with enormous ears, clawed hands, teats on its torso and a long tail. His caption suggested it had been spotted in the Kenyan town of Embu.
It’s not the first time the photo has been posted with a misleading storyline. It appeared in a 9 May 2018 blog under the headline: “Shocking: Story of a human pig whom was given birth to by a southern Indian prostitute who slept with a pig.”
A Facebook page in India also shared the photo describing it as a strange creature found in a forest.
But it doesn’t show any living creature, and was recently flagged by Facebook’s fact-checking system.
Sculptures for sale on Etsy
A reverse image search reveals that the photo is of a sculpture and first appeared on the internet on 13 March 2018.
It was part of a series of images posted by Italian sculptor Laira Maganuco on her Facebook and Instagram accounts.
Shortly after, a Russian blog ran a story with photos of the sculpture from various angles, correctly describing it as a silicone figurine.
On Facebook, Maganuco explains that the sculpture is 72 centimetres tall, moulded entirely of silicone, and is of an imaginary hybrid woman mouse. She also posted a video on her YouTube channel showing the creature.
Her work is for sale on Etsy, an e-commerce site offering a range of unique and creative goods. Maganuco’s website also has dozens of photos of similar sculptures.
Source of many hoaxes
In December 2018 AFP Fact Check dismissed a claim that the photo shows what happens to a person who insults the Qur’an, the holy book of Islam. Earlier in 2018 Social Media Hoax Slayer debunked another claim that the sculpture was an alien.
In January 2019 Africa Check debunked a false story that another of Maganuco’s sculptures was a piglet born with a human face. – Dancan Bwire (15/05/19)
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.