An image purportedly showing Russian President Vladimir Putin sitting among other world leaders at the G20 Summit is a digital fake. While Putin did attend the international forum in Hamburg, Germany, he was not actually featured in the viral photo.
According to Snopes, the Photoshopped image went viral shortly after the G20 Leaders’ Summit ended on Saturday. It featured Putin and President Donald Trump, in addition to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey Mevlut Cavusoglu. The real photo, however, did not feature Putin. Instead, an empty chair can be seen as several world leaders engage in a discussion.
Photo on the left is making the rounds on social media. Photo on the right is the original Getty Image. pic.twitter.com/E9aoCI6eCu
— Evan McMurry (@evanmcmurry) July 9, 2017
As can be seen in the original photo (and some Photoshopped versions), the card in front of the chair reads, “United Kingdom”—meaning that the chair was meant for British Prime Minister Theresa May. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose outfit changes slightly between the real and fake photos, can also be seen standing behind the group.
Dmitry Puchkov seems to have been one of the first to share the fake photo on Instagram, according to BBC News. In reality, however, the genuine photo shows several world leaders speaking as an empty chair sits in the middle of the group, which at no point included Putin.
Some of the real photos that went viral during the internal forum include Putin and Trump shaking hands, in addition to a photo of Ivanka Trump holding her father’s seat—a moment that sparked backlash on social media. Trump later tweeted that he had asked the First Daughter to hold his seat when he “left Conference Room for short meetings with Japan and other countries.” He called it “very standard.”
— Brian Klaas (@brianklaas) July 8, 2017
Here are some examples of people sharing the fake image on social media:
Social Media Shares Fake Photo of Vladimir Putin at G20 Summit
A Renaissance painting of our age. pic.twitter.com/G0mAYRl9Mz
— Has Avrat (@hasavrat) July 8, 2017
I tweeted a joke about this photoshopped picture, but people seem to think I was trying to pass it off as real, so I deleted it. Screenshot: pic.twitter.com/s5yg4Bl0uV
— Parker Molloy (@ParkerMolloy) July 10, 2017
Масштаб личности pic.twitter.com/6uZ5Ak69c5
— Илиас Меркури (@imerkouri) July 8, 2017
OK, let"s meme with this! pic.twitter.com/ujhw3MmjQl
— Dktr Süs (@Dktr_Sus) July 8, 2017
G20 Last Supper pic.twitter.com/STnI61g1AG
— RussellThomas (@MrMeritology) July 9, 2017
— SeriouslyUS? (@USseriously) July 9, 2017
I added some lyrics from the scene it most reminded me of. pic.twitter.com/yUGvbCNFjw
— Jonny Nintendo (@jonnynintendo) July 9, 2017
What are your thoughts on the fake photo of Vladimir Putin sitting among other world leaders at the G20 Summit? How do you feel about what was discussed at the international forum? Sound off in the comments section below!
Photo credit: The Russian Presidential Press and Information Office, Wikimedia Commons