The photo of empty shelves with supposedly exhausted energy-saving light bulbs was actually taken in a US supermarket at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Social media users are sharing images believed to have been taken in a UK supermarket. The message in the photo reads: ‘Due to high demand, the store is only selling two bulbs per person. According to the publication, Britons are buying energy-saving bulbs in droves as utility prices are set to rise.
“They think energy-saving bulbs will lower their utility bills in the future – and have bought them all. This is a shelf in Sheffield,” an article on the propagandist website Ukraine.ru declared. Pro-Kremlin Telegram channels also shared these photos.
It turns out that the original photos were taken in the United States and posted on the popular online resource Alamy, where any user can buy them. Description reads empty shelves were pictured at a Target retail store in Contra Costa County, San Ramon, California on March 12, 2020. Photos of shelves with hand sanitizers and other essentials have already published by the American media Newsweek in March. 15.
These goods were stockpiled by consumers when the COVID-19 pandemic had just begun. In the original photos, the sign on the shelf reads, “The number of sanitizers is limited to six per guest.” Later, the photo was edited in a photo editor: text and price tags on the panel were changed, and packaging with light bulbs was added. But the angle from which the shots were taken, the location of the shelves, even the size of the sign and the creases on its margins are exactly the same as the photos taken in the USA two years ago.
Russian propaganda spreads false claims that EU countries are experiencing incredible economic hardship due to the sanctions imposed on Russia. In particular, StopFake debunked a story about a bogus German social media advertising campaign that suggests “washing only four areas of your body” to annoy Putin.” Pro-Kremlin publications constantly spread manipulative information about cutting supplies in Russian gas causing panic in European countries.