‘Injured’ man in fake post is popular YouTuber

20 October 2022
What was claimed

A Facebook user needs help to identify a young man left unconscious following a recent car accident in Gloucester.

Our verdict

The picture does not show the victim of a car accident but rather a US social media star who had suffered a burst appendix in 2019.

A Facebook post which claims to be seeking help to identify the victim of a car accident in Gloucester is fake. 

The post, which appears on a local buying and selling group and has been shared over 900 times, says: “Please help! This young man [sic] hit by a car [sic] few hours ago here in Gloucester, we couldn’t find any ID on him and he is still unconscious. Please help bump this post so that his friend’s [sic] or family may find him.”

The post is accompanied by a photograph of a young man in a hospital bed alongside another showing what appears to be the scene of a car accident. 

The post has also appeared on Facebook groups from other UK locations including Stamford in Lincolnshire, Bradford in Yorkshire and Belfast. The wording in these other posts is identical, other than claiming the accident occurred in each different group’s local area. 

Using a reverse image search we identified the man as Alex Stokes, one half of the social media duo known as the Stokes Twins. Based in Los Angeles, the pair have more than 30 million followers on TikTok and a further 15 million on YouTube

The photograph in the post appears in a February 2019 video by the brothers, where they explain how Alex Stokes was hospitalised earlier that month after suffering a burst appendix,  not a car accident as claimed by the Facebook post. The video has been viewed more than 15 million times.

The twins posted the same image to their Facebook page shortly after the incident occurred. 

After Full Fact sent examples of the Facebook posts to the Stokes Twins’ management company, a spokesperson told us: “This is 100% fake.”

We have been unable to find the original version of the second photograph in the post but close scrutiny of the image shows it was taken in a city in Canada during or prior to 2017. 

Zooming in on the patches worn by the firefighter-paramedics dealing with the incident shows they match those worn by members of the Saskatoon Fire Department, in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan. 

In addition, one of the buildings in the background is the original downtown Saskatoon location of the Thien Vietnam restaurant which moved to new premises a short distance away in mid-2017.

We have written before about highly emotive fake posts which use stories of abandoned babies or injured dogs in order to attract likes and shares. 

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