26 September 2023

Misleading: Photo of litter-filled street does not show the aftermath of climate protest in Netherlands

The photo has nothing to do with the recent Climate March. It shows a trashed area outside the Ziggo Dome in Amsterdam before the concert of singer Billie Eilish.

Various posts in Chinese on Weibo, Facebook and Twitter shared a photo of a trashed street in June, claiming to show the aftermath of a Climate March in the Netherlands.

The claim on Facebook in particular said specifically the image shows the climate protest in Rotterdam on June 19.

Together, the posts gained over 2,000 likes and 250 shares as of this writing. The same claim also circulated in other languages such as English, Russian, Japanese and Dutch.

These claims, however, are misleading.

A misleading claim in Dutch says that climate change activists left trash.

The photo has nothing to do with the climate change protest. It was taken one day before the march at a location that is an hour’s drive away from the place.

Annie Lab geolocated the yellow exterior of the building in the background and can confirm that it is the Johan Cruijff ArenA, near Ziggo Dome, an indoor arena in Amsterdam, not Rotterdam.

Johan Cruijff ArenA is across Ziggo Dome in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

We also learned that American singer-songwriter Billie Eilish performed at the Ziggo Dome on June 18 and the same image of a litter-filled street was shared by her fans on Twitter mentioning the concert.

For example, this tweet with the same photo tagged Eilish herself, presumably to gain her attention.

Another tweet with the hashtag #BillieEilish posted by user @SesjoeKetesjoe shows a wider view of the location from a different angle.

A photo taken on the day of Billie Eilish’s concert at Ziggo Dome in Amsterdam by @SesjoeKetesjoe.

Annie Lab reached out to the social media account on June 30 and the user @SesjoeKetesjoe said she took the photo right after the arena doors opened around 6:30 p.m. on June 18.

We requested the original image and looked into the metadata.

The metadata extracted from the photo shows the date, time and GPS coordinates.

The data associated with the original photo shows it was indeed taken on June 18, at the GPS coordinates pointing to Amstel III en Bullewijk, 1101 AX, an area that is within the vicinity of the Ziggo Dome in Amsterdam on Google maps.

Screenshot of Google maps showing the distance between the spot where @SesjoeKetesjoe took the photo and the Ziggo Dome.

Comparing the misleading image on social media to the original image taken by @SesjoeKetesjoe.

Many other Twitter users have also uploaded videos (here, here and here) of the long queues of fans waiting to enter the concert venue.

Dutch media Nederlands Dagblad reported that despite the heat warning, thousands of fans arrived at Ziggo Dome a night earlier and waited in the area.

AFP Netherlands has also checked this claim and found it to be false.