No-one was arrested for creating a labyrinth in Ikea using fake social distancing signs

24 November 2021
What was claimed

A man was arrested for putting down fake social distancing arrows in an Ikea to confuse customers.

Our verdict

The story is a joke and has been circulating in a similar form since 2018.

Facebook posts claim that a man was arrested for putting fake social distancing arrows in an Ikea to create a “labyrinth” with no exit. 

While Ikea did ask customers to socially distance when it reopened after lockdowns in 2020 and 2021, this story (unsurprisingly) is meant as a joke. 

 Other versions of the same joke have been around for several years. 

An earlier version of the story, without the reference to social distancing, was published by Spanish website “ThereisNews.com” in 2018. 

Buzzfeed reported that the story went viral when then Twitter designer Dan Saffer tweeted it, later apologising “for spreading ‘fake news’.”ThereisNews.com’s “Legal Warning” disclaimer states it is “a humor site whose purpose is entertainment. The content of TIN is fiction and does not correspond to reality.”

The website subsequently published other comedic stories about Ikea including that the meatballs it serves in its restaurants are made out of people that couldn’t find the shop’s exit.

The Swedish retailer and the sprawling layout of its superstores has been the butt of jokes before. In 2017 Wurst.lu, a Luxembourg-based website that publishes “fake news, satire, and nonsense”, posted a story about a man who was rescued after being lost for two weeks in an Ikea. 

This article is part of our work fact checking potentially false pictures, videos and stories on Facebook. You can read more about this—and find out how to report Facebook content—here. For the purposes of that scheme, we’ve rated this claim as satire because it was meant as a joke.

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