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 'corpse' in Gaza texting on his phone 🤣
Below is how the post appeared at the time of writing:
(Source: X screenshot taken Thurs Oct 26 21:26:36 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 🤪."
(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.