Fact Check: Photo Does NOT Show Gaza 'Corpse ... Texting On His Phone' -- Image Predates 2023 Conflict

Fact Check

  • by: Madison Dapcevich
Fact Check: Photo Does NOT Show Gaza 'Corpse ... Texting On His Phone' -- Image Predates 2023 Conflict Fact Check: Photo Does NOT Show Gaza 'Corpse ... Texting On His Phone' -- Image Predates 2023 Conflict 2022 Meme

Was a "corpse" in Gaza captured on camera "texting on his phone" in October 2023, amid the Hamas-Israel conflict? No, that's not true: This photo has appeared on social media since at least November 2022 -- 11 months prior to the conflict, which began on October 7, 2023. Lead Stories determined that the photo, which featured a human seemingly sitting upright in a body bag as they texted on a phone, was commonly used as a meme in non-political contexts in the months prior to it being posted again in October 2023.

The claim originated in a now-deleted photo shared on X, formerly Twitter, on October 26, 2023 (archived here). Components of that original post were reshared the same day (archived here) by other social media users, some of whom credited (archived here) "Eli David," who posted the now-deleted version with a caption that read:

A miracle!

A 'corpse' in Gaza texting on his phone 🤣

Below is how the post appeared at the time of writing:

Screenshot 2023-10-26 at 11.26.36 AM.png

(Source: X screenshot taken Thurs Oct 26 21:26:36 UTC 2023)

The implied claim in the post above is that this photo showed a fake corpse in a scene related to the October 2023 conflict in Gaza and Israel -- but that implication is false because the photo predates the beginning of that conflict by nearly a year, at least.
As Mashable reporter Matt Binder posted on X on October 27, 2023, (archived here) the photo "was originally posted on Facebook in October 2022 by a mom in Thailand... its her kid in a Halloween costume":
Screenshot 2023-10-27 at 11.10.44 AM.png
(Source: X screenshot taken Fri Oct 27 21:10:44 UTC 2023)
Lead Stories was able to trace the photograph to photos shared on Facebook on October 28, 2022. These photos showed what appeared to be two children in Halloween costumes:
Screenshot 2023-10-27 at 11.18.01 AM.png
(Source: Facebook screenshot taken 21:11:13 UTC 2023)

Lead Stories contacted the original poster of the images above via Facebook Messenger but did not hear back in time for publication. We will update the article should we receive a response.

However, through a reverse image search using Google Lens, we determined that the photo has been circulating in memes on social media since at least November 29, 2022, which also predated the current Hamas-Israel conflict. This means the image couldn't have shown a texting "'corpse' in Gaza" as the October 26, 2023, post said. One 2022 version had a caption that read, "When you are dead but you forgot to clear your Google Search history 🤪."

Similar meme posts that predate the Hamas-Israel conflict can be seen here, here and here.

Screenshot 2023-10-26 at 9.38.24 AM.png

(Source: X screenshot taken Thurs Oct 26 19:38:00 UTC 2023)

Other Lead Stories fact checks of claims involving the Hamas-Israel conflict can be seen here.

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  Madison Dapcevich

Raised on an island in southeast Alaska, Madison grew up a perpetually curious tidepooler and has used that love of science and innovation in her now full-time role as a science reporter for the fact-checking publication Lead Stories.

Read more about or contact Madison Dapcevich

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