If you spent any time on the Internet over the last few months, there’s a chance you saw this photo of firemen who had found a fool-proof way to lay a hose over train tracks.
The photo went viral, being shared all over Twitter and Facebook. According to RailRoadFan.com, this “smart trick” caused a train to derail.
Not quite. The photo was actually a joke.
Firefighter Tom Bongaerts from Belgium took the photo at the beginning of April, posting it to Facebook:
The caption says something like: “Fire early this morning. Our hoses are still protected from the train!”
But that track was down that week for repairs. Those in town — presumably Tom’s Facebook friends — knew that the photo was created and posted for laughs. There was no chance a train would be coming.
But soon, hundreds of people were sharing the photo on Facebook, adding their own commentary:
People who didn’t know Tom or about the defunct train track began to see the photo, and, in disbelief, share the photo themselves.
After his picture was shared hundreds of times, it eventually became separated from its original source and its sarcastic caption.
People believed it was real. Stories — like the one about how a train derailed — began going viral as well.
Several days later, after tons of tweets, shares, and email forwards in lots of languages, he wrote a follow up post explaining what happened:
Hey, this past week our funny photo went viral throughout the whole world. Thousands of shares and likes in many different countries!
Once and for all: The picture was taken in Belgium, in a small village called Bornem. After a minor intervention, we had some time left near the railway to make this picture. Since there were no trains running at all for a week due to maintenance works, we can state that our joke was a real success!
A good reminder: Everything on the internet is a hoax.
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