26

When one googles "The Flat Earth Society has members all around the globe", many images appear. Some of them claim this is a post by the Flat Earth Society itself, such as this one: enter image description here

I wonder if this is for real, i.e.: Did the Flat Earth Society published the post "The Flat Earth Society has members all around the globe" on social media?

My doubts come from the fact that the same comment appears under different versions of the post, but with varying authors. However, there seem to be people who make fun of the society based on this Facebook post, so they seem to believe that the post is (was) actually real.

1
  • The "Flat Earth Society" apparently denies this alleged posting, pointing out that the "y" at the end of "The Flat Earth Society" (in the message-text) is messed up, reflecting an obvious alteration.
    – Nat
    Aug 22, 2022 at 19:10

2 Answers 2

23

I find no evidence of this being real, but I cannot prove a negative.

Tineye's first record of this image appeared on May 9, 2017. When I go to The Flat Earth Society's Facebook page, this post does not appear in the first half of 2017. Neither of these things is conclusive.

Tineye is a reverse image search engine. Their image recognition algorithms allow you to reverse search an image and find out when it first appeared in Tineye's records. Unfortunately I do not know how thorough their records are. It is very possible that Tineye's first record of it is actually a reposting of an earlier unrecorded image.

It is possible that the post was real and the Facebook post was deleted after it became a widely ridiculed meme. The original post was not an image, and therefore would not be found by tineye.

This same joke was made prior to May 2017 without attribution to an actual Flat Earth source. This shirt was originally sold in February 2017. This guy tweeted out the joke in May 2016.

I sent a message to The Flat Earth facebook page asking if it was real, on 12/30/17. That was 6 days ago and they have not responded. If they do, I will edit this answer.

This is a decent collection of circumstantial evidence. It all supports the idea that this image was created to be a funny meme.

1
  • So do you see a good way to debunk hoaxes?
    – jjack
    Jan 6, 2018 at 14:08
5

I find links before 09/05/2017, with a search on Google for "The Flat Earth Society has members all around the globe" and adding a filter to find before this date.

We can see for example the StareCat website with a similar image, and this tweet.

As well on Reddit here.

The joke was even there at the beginning of 2016, see this Boldomatic link.

I would finally add that these two pictures have two different commentators with the same amount of upvotes:

enter image description here

enter image description here

(sources: [1], [2])

So we have some good clues that it's a fake, without absolute proof (having absolute proof would require to see an historic of deleted messages of facebook for their accounts...)

6
  • 1
    When you say "yes indeed", who are you responding to? Do you think what you have found is evidence for it being real, or evidence for it being a hoax?
    – IMSoP
    Aug 21, 2022 at 11:45
  • Regarding the comment authors, it seems likely to me that one or both have edited the image to claim credit for it. That doesn't really prove either way whether the original image was a real screenshot, or completely fake.
    – IMSoP
    Aug 21, 2022 at 11:47
  • it's not absolute proof it's fake, but there are lots of clues that it is. I said yes indeed to follow the comment above which said "It all supports the idea that this image was created to be a funny meme." Aug 21, 2022 at 12:22
  • 1
    Not only might the order of appearance on the webpage change, but comments are ephemeral, it's best that an answer be self-contained to avoid this confusion. Please edit. Aug 21, 2022 at 12:32
  • 1
    Out of curiosity, I took a look at their Facebook page to see if there was an obvious post around the right time with compatible stats that could have been devtoolsed then screenshoted then reposted with a spam url username added. Two things jumped out: 1) 5k reactions is VERY unusually high for them, I couldn't see a single post with even 1k reactions, most had 2-digits; 2) that could be believable if this post went viral, but the selection of reactions looks wrong. Surely there would be far more "laugh" reactions if the post had abnormally high views outside of their... sphere of influence? Aug 21, 2022 at 20:21

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .