During every hurricane, Scottish journalist Jason Michael McCann enjoys trolling the internet with a particular photo. It always purports to show a shark swimming down the street or highway. The idea is that floodwaters have risen so high in the midst of a big storm that sharks are now making their way onto land.
Well, it’s completely fake.
And McCann will be the first to tell you that.
“Of course I knew it was fake,” McCann told BuzzFeed last year after tweeting the image out during Hurricane Harvey. “It was part of the reason I shared the bloomin’ thing.”
Though it began as a joke for his Twitter followers, part of McCann’s motivation for his subsequent tweets of the image is specifically because it’s fake. McCann says he got into journalism because he didn’t trust the news he was getting.
“We are responsible for how we receive the information we’re getting,” McCann said. “If people choose to be fooled by a shark swimming by a car, I don’t think it says a great deal about me.”
According to Snopes, the fake image dates back to August of 2011 when Hurricane Irene hit Puerto Rico. Snopes debunked the cleverly composited “hurricane shark” photo soon after.
There’s plenty to worry about during a hurricane, but sharks swimming on the highway are not one of them.