Truth or Fake

The viral 'abandoned child' story: Feel-good posts can be fake too!

On the right, photos that purport to show what happened to Hope, a starving child looked after by the Danish humanitarian worker Anja Ringgren Loven in 2016. On the left, Anja and her family spoke to the Truth or Fake team.
On the right, photos that purport to show what happened to Hope, a starving child looked after by the Danish humanitarian worker Anja Ringgren Loven in 2016. On the left, Anja and her family spoke to the Truth or Fake team. © FRANCE 24

It's a heartwarming story: a Danish humanitarian worker, Anja Ringgren Lovén, helped this starving child in 2016. The moment when she offered him water was captured on camera, and the picture went viral online.

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The text alongside the images says that she adopted the child and named him Hope. Photos of her with Hope were then paired with another one, that supposedly shows her posing with Hope four years later. Except... the boy in the last photo isn't Hope at all. He's her son, David Jr.

We spoke to Anja and her family about how this small falsehood online has had real-life consequences for them and their organisation.

If you've seen something online that you want us to verify, get in touch with the team @Observers or @InfoIntoxF24 on Twitter or on our Facebook page.