First, it was sharks being sucked into Hurricane Florence as it churned in the Atlantic Ocean.
Now that the storm has made landfall, pounding the North and South Carolina coast with heavy rains and severe flooding, pictures are circulating of sharks swimming alongside cars on flooded streets.
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Hint: They’re both fake.
Derek Schwartz, the user who posted the shark swimming photo, said on Twitter that he was making fun of how the same photo is posted every time there is a major storm.
“this tweet proved 2 things about twitter 1) some people believe anything they see on the internet 2) most people on twitter are vile, hateful people who can’t wait to attack a stranger the first chance they get,” he wrote.
The replies to his original post included pictures of dinosaurs making their way through flooded streets, proving a third thing about the Twitter: everyone wants in on the meme.
And it’s getting easier and easier to create your own. Anyone with a real photo, some creativity and a few minutes can create their own “breaking news” meme at breakyourownnews.com. The “Sharks in Hurricane Florence” image appears to come from the site.
The original “Sharknado,” a campy TV movie about an apocalyptic hurricane complete with thousands of sharks hitting Los Angeles, was released in 2013. The movie, a short-lived cultural phenomenon, has spawned five sequels, one each year, and countless Internet hoaxes.
The current version, recycled from 2017’s Hurricane Irma, suggests that Hurricane Florence is filled with sharks. Hurricane Florence, a Category 4 storm while over the Atlantic, made landfall at a Category 1 Friday morning.
Sharks are not falling from the sky and terrorizing the population —the premise behind “Sharknado.”
Snopes.com has already called the image a “recycled fake,” which was first used last year during Hurricane Irma, which battered Florida.
The website was once described as “the highway to memeville,” a moniker embraced by the site’s creator.