Fact Check: FAKE Photo Shows Mariah Carey Holding Up Cellphone Displaying Message 'Palestine Does Not Exist'

Fact Check

  • by: Kaiyah Clarke
Fact Check: FAKE Photo Shows Mariah Carey Holding Up Cellphone Displaying Message 'Palestine Does Not Exist' Edited Photo

Does an authentic photo show singer Mariah Carey holding a cellphone with a message that reads, "Palestine does not exist"? No, that's not true: The photo was digitally altered to change the original image on the phone, which displayed a game from a cellphone app. The real photo and app, which Carey also describes on her official Instagram account and is reported in a credible online news article, does not mention the statement in the fake photo.

The claim appeared in a post (archived here) on Threads, an app on the Instagram platform, on July 8, 2024. The caption of the post opened:

Oh Mariah... the legend you are 😍

The image below the caption displayed Mariah Carey holding a cellphone with a message on the screen that reads:


This is what the post looked like on Threads at the time of writing:

Screenshot 2024-07-11 at 1.05.31 PM.png

(Source: Threads screenshot taken on Wed July 10 14:39:30 2024 UTC)

A reverse image search (archived here) on Google Lens produced a July 9, 2024, Stereogum article titled, "Watch Mariah Carey Ace The Purple Level On NYTimes Connections" that shows the unedited version of the photo of Carey holding up a cellphone with an image on the screen.

The real image shows an online puzzle game with a purple banner at the top of the webpage, as described in the article:

Celebrities are just like us regular folks: They eat, they sleep, they accrue a lot of screen time thanks to the New York Times Games app. Mariah Carey is no exception to the latter, especially when it came to Sunday's Connections puzzle.

For the uninitiated, Connections is a game that presents the player with 16 words that can be divvied up into four separate categories of four based on what the words have in common. The premise is simple enough, but it gets tricky sometimes! Each group of four words is also assigned a color that's meant to indicate the category's difficulty, with purple being the hardest. It's a big flex if you correctly guess the purple level first. And Mariah Carey nailed it.

The article includes a video (archived here) on TikTok that Carey posted on her official account on July 8, 2024. In it, she is seen playing Connections and then showing viewers the puzzle game screen.

In viewing Carey's verified Instagram account, a July 8, 2024, post shows the exact image of Carey displaying a cellphone screen with the puzzle on it -- not a message concerning the existence of Palestine.

Mariah Carey Puzzle IG Post Screenshot.png

(Source: Instagram screenshot taken on Wed July 10 14:45:30 2024 UTC)

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  Kaiyah Clarke

Kaiyah Clarke is a fact-checker at Lead Stories. She is a graduate of Florida A&M University with a B.S. in Broadcast Journalism and is currently pursuing an M.S. in Journalism. When she is not fact-checking or researching counter-narratives in society, she is often found reading a book on the New York Times Bestseller List.

Read more about or contact Kaiyah Clarke

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