30 September 2023

False: This image of Greta Thunberg’s ‘weight gain’ is also doctored

The new viral photo manipulated a picture uploaded four years ago. Various recent news photos do not show any major changes in her appearance.

An image of Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg appearing overweight was shared by multiple users on Twitter and Weibo in mid-October, with a claim that she has put on significant weight lately.

Together, they have gained hundreds of likes, shares and comments. But this is a doctored image.

Annie Lab found the original version of the photograph posted on Thunberg’s Twitter account more than four years ago, on Oct. 5, 2018.

In the post, she said she was standing in front of a coal power plant in Hamburg, Germany.

A screenshot of Greta Thunberg’s Twitter account’s post in 2018.
A comparison of the original photo and the misleading image.

The manipulated image overtly exaggerates Thunberg’s cheek and chin compared to the original. The cloud and several trees in the background appear to be digitally edited as well.

We also looked at recent news photos of Thunberg and found no noticeable changes in her face over the years.

A photo taken by AFP photographer Jonas Ekstromer on Oct. 13, for example, shows her attending a protest in Sweden (picture below). She included another picture from the same event in her tweet as well.

A screenshot of an AFP photo of Greta Thunberg taken on Oct. 13.

Thunberg also appeared in a face-to-face interview with BBC News, and the interview piece was published on Oct. 18.

Her photo with media editor Amol Rajan was featured in the article and her face looks nothing like the one in the doctored old image.

(Courtesy: BBC News)

Thunberg is known for urging world leaders and politicians to take immediate actions to combat climate change.

She has been a frequent target of misinformation globally.

One of the common tactics has been altering her appearance to make her look like she is gaining weight, implying that her lifestyle does not follow what she stands for.

Annie Lab debunked another digitally manipulated photo of Thunberg that went viral last year.

On Oct. 11, Thunberg made headlines when she said in an interview with German public television that she believed it would be a “mistake” to switch off current nuclear power facilities and instead focus on coal as a source of electricity.

German government later decided to extend the lifespan of the three remaining nuclear plants until mid-April next year.