Thousands of people on Facebook have shared a hoax post appealing for the identity of a dog allegedly found injured at the side of the road in Plumstead, southeast London.
The post, shared 3,700 times at the time of publication, says: “Hello. If anyone is looking for this sweet girl, found her lying on the side road in #Plumstead
“She was hit by a car in a hit and run incident.I took her to the vet she is in a critical condition,sustained multiple fractures and on pain relief and oxygen. She is not chipped I know someone is looking for her. Please bump this post to help me find the owner.”
This is not a real appeal, and Full Fact has written about posts with similar wording many times before.
All three pictures used in the post appear to have been taken from a post shared earlier this month by a veterinary clinic in Nashville, Tennessee.
The comments on the post have also been turned off. This is a common tactic on hoax appeals, because it prevents people from warning other social media users that the information isn’t genuine. Derbyshire Police has previously said that having the comments turned off is an indication that the posts like these are hoaxes.
It appears that very similar posts using the same pictures have recently been shared in the US, with a police department in Ohio warning last week that they had been seeing them very frequently online.
Full Fact has previously checked many different messages posted to community Facebook buy, sell or trade groups, which falsely raise an alarm for missing pensioners, abandoned infants or missing children. We’ve seen posts like these edited later to promote freebies, cashback or property listings.
This behaviour means that local groups could become overwhelmed with false information. As a result, genuine missing and lost posts could get ignored or—perhaps worse for those desperately searching for loved ones—dismissed as false. We have written to Meta expressing these concerns and asking the company to take stronger action in response to this problem.
It’s always worth checking whether content is real before you share it. We have written a guide on how to verify viral images which you can read here.