With the rise in the number of novel coronavirus cases, there is a surge in the number of rumor-mongering messages across various social media platforms. Among them is a set of images that are doing rounds on social media claiming that Italians are throwing away their money on the streets due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The text of one of the viral posts reads, “In Italy, they throw their money on the street. It is a clear message to the whole world that money is not enough when health is in danger”.
Several readers also sent the claim to Newschecker’s WhatsApp helpline number for verification. We found that several users on social media shared the viral message on their respective handles.
Using reverse-image search on the Google search engine, we found a Facebook post which carried out the same viral images. Facebook users uploaded this post on March 22, 2019 and claimed that these viral images are from Venezuela. The caption of the post reads,” This is a street in Venezuela. That’s money in the gutter. It’s worthless. Welcome to socialism”.
In Italy, people have thrown their wealth in the way and told the world that when this wealth cannot save their loved ones from death, then it is of no use. Rich people should spend this wealth on the poor, lest you should also have to throw this wealth like this. pic.twitter.com/rKFR4yGvEF
— LEGION (@Ajavgade) April 1, 2020
While fact-checking the claim, we found several Tweets carrying out the same viral images. The Tweets uploaded on March 12, 2019 reported that people looted Bicentenario banks in Merida and left the Venezuelan bolivars on the street and set the money on fire to show that it is worthless.
The bicentenario bank in Merida was looted, people left the Venezuelan bolivars behind and left the money on the street and set fire to piles of Venezuelan bolivars to prove its worthless #Venezuela #SinLuz pic.twitter.com/YJlT2qFPrY
— CNW (@ConflictsW) March 11, 2019
Vandalizaron el Banco Bicentenario de la Av. 3 en Ciudad de #Mérida y esparcieron en la calle billetes del cono monetario viejo. Ya el estado cumple 4 días #SinLuz.@ReporteYa pic.twitter.com/OC6xnTgidX
— Segovia Bastidas (@SegoviaBastidas) March 11, 2019
With the help of a relevant keyword search, we performed the Google search and found an article on a local website Maduradas, published on March 12, 2019. The article which carried out the same viral images reported that hooded men looted the Bicentenario bank agency on Avenue 3, Glorias Patrias, in the state of Merida and scattered bolivars of the old currency through the streets.
¡TERRIBLE! Encapuchados saquearon banco Bicentenario en Mérida y esparcieron bolívares del viejo cono monetario por las calles (+Fotos)
Este lunes 11 de marzo, encapuchados saquearon la agencia del banco Bicentenario en la avenida 3, de Glorias Patrias, en el estado Mérida. El hecho fue confirmado por el diputado de la Asamblea Nacional Williams Dávila, así como por el corresponsal de El Nacional en el estado Mérida, Leonardo León.
We found that that currency lying on the streets of Venezuela was the old currency, Bolívar Fuerte whereas in August 2018, the currency was replaced by a new form of currency – the Bolivar Soberano.
Venezuela is starting to use a new currency Monday to help bolster its collapsing economy
According to the report by CNN, Venezuela issued a new currency in an attempt to bolster its crumbling economy. The new currency issued by the Venezuela government is worth 100,000 old Bolivares Fuertes.
It is evident from our fact check that images doing rounds on social media are not from Italy. The viral images are from Venezuela when the country was facing economic collapse.
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