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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.

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    According to tineye, this image appeared on May 8, 2017 and has been spreading virally since then. The Flat Earth facebook page does not have a matching post from that time period, but they could have deleted it. tineye.com/search/eef400067fb92fa091d4b40be66f69fb392d3b53/… – BobTheAverage Dec 30 '17 at 18:25
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    Aren't they a satirical group? – Nat Dec 30 '17 at 20:10
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    @Nat Depends upon the group, but my understanding is that the main one at tfes.org is satirical. – rjzii Dec 30 '17 at 20:37
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    @BobTheAverage: Want to make that an answer? – Oddthinking Dec 30 '17 at 23:09
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    @EllieKesselman: There are plenty of ways of resolving those two alternatives. Screenshots from reliable sources. Evidence that the joke is older than 2017 - especially if it is older than Facebook. Admission from the original poster. – Oddthinking Jan 1 '18 at 9:57
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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.

  • So do you see a good way to debunk hoaxes? – jjack Jan 6 '18 at 14:08

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