This post was originally based on verification work carried out collaboratively by newsrooms in France and the UK through CrossCheck (French | English), a not-for-profit collaboration to combat disinformation online, and is republished as part of a partnership with Global Voices.
An infographic purporting to map “clashes between the rabble and our police” has gone viral on Facebook and Twitter over the past fortnight. It was, however, created in November 2005 and does not reflect the current reality of social tensions in France.
Clashes from Lens to Perpignan via Lyons or Marseilles: this false map counts fifty zones of unrest between the forces of order and civil groups across France. An Internet search allowed us to trace this image back to November 8th 2005 in an article on the blog “the ipinionsjournal” reporting in a distorted way the urban violence committed during widespread rioting at that time across France.
A deeper search through the internet archive Wayback Machine showed us the original infographic in an article about this unrest in the British newspaper The Daily Telegraph, published on November 8, 2005.
In reality, this infographic does not correspond to the clashes in 2005: these are more correctly traced in this infographic from the French newspaper The Parisian dating from 2015.
The misattributed map is being shared by supporters of US President Donald Trump to support the idea that “no-go zones” exist in France, and it’s also showing up on various French far-right social media accounts.
You can read about other fabrications and the French elections here.