Fact check: Did Greta Thunberg demand that everyone drive electric cars? | World | Latest news and insights from around the world | DW

Misattributed and fabricated quotes can be found online too often. They are usually broadcast to ridicule or discredit political opponents. Recently, a photo montage circulated on social media showing Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg giving a speech with superimposed text saying, “I demand that everyone drives electric cars now!”

The lower half of the collage shows a child looking at the camera, arms and t-shirt covered in mud. In the background, people work in muddy water. Text overlaid on this part reads: “We’re mining the cobalt for your batteries as fast as we can, Greta.”

More than 70% of cobalt for batteries is mined in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Facebook post by Hans-Ulrich Rülke on June 20, 2022

This montage was published by German lawmaker Hans-Ulrich Rülke on his Facebook page on Monday. Rülke leads the liberal democratic FDP parliamentary group in Baden-Württemberg, in southwestern Germany.

To claim: Greta Thunberg gave a speech in which she said: “I demand that everyone drive electric cars now!

DW Fact Check: Fake.

The image in the top half of the montage shows Greta Thunberg speaking at the 2019 COP25 United Nations climate change conference in Madrid, Spain. During his speech, Thunberg implored the world to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but never said “I demand that everyone drive electric cars now,” let alone cars. electrical. His full speech is available on YouTube. The electric car quote was fabricated and falsely attributed to the climate activist.

A reverse image search using TinEye reveals that the montage was previously posted on the Reddit discussion forum on November 23, 2021. It was shared in the “r/cursedcomments” subforum, which invites users to post content that will leave readers “mystified” but also put a “smile on your face”. The post has since been deleted by moderators.

It is possible that the content featuring Thunberg’s fabricated quote was originally created and shared for entertainment purposes rather than misinformation. It appears the edit was later picked up and shared by others to discredit the climate activist.

A TinEye search reveals that the bottom half of the montage showing an African child with miners working in the background was first published on November 29, 2014 on the Indonesian news platform www.liputan6.com.

Although Rülke’s post caused considerable controversy, he did not remove it from his Facebook page. Speaking to the German daily Rhein-Neckar-Zeitung, Rülke defended the sharing of the montage on Thursday, saying: “I didn’t create the post, I just shared it. Posts like this are always exaggerations. The goal was to draw more attention to inhuman child labor in the Congo”. When asked why he shared a false and falsely attributed quote from Greta Thunberg, Rülke replied that the climate activist had “drove electric cars in the United States” which had attracted “a lot of media attention”.

This is not the first time that Thunberg has been the target of disinformation campaigns.

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