A firefighter created this AI-generated image to show solidarity between Greece and Turkey. It has been used by some scam accounts.
Following the recent earthquakes that battered parts of Turkey and Syria, some social media posts have featured images that look like EMAK—the Greek fire service, rescuing children from the rubble. In one picture, a man in a firefighter uniform is surrounded by debris and holding a small child. One tweet said, "While the rest of us are resting nice and warm in our homes far away, where barely any #earthquakes are ever sensed… some other heroes help their neighbors rescue people trapped under ruins." Many social media posts have also used this image to praise the efforts made by the Greek firefighters to aid Turkey after the quake. Some social media accounts have used the same image to ask for donations for the earthquake. The picture, however, is fake.
Visual markers in the picture in question indicated that the picture was digitally altered. The most striking evidence that the image could have been AI generated was that there were six fingers on the right hand of the firefighter, and the child's hand also appears distorted. We also compared the soldier's uniform in the image to the actual uniform of EMAK. The EMAK logo on the sleeve of the firefighter in the viral replication is blurry.
Further research showed us that a local Greek newspaper, OEMA, reported that the image was created by the Major General of the Aegean fire brigade, Panagiotis Kotridis, using software called Midjourney. The report cited his Facebook post, which contained the image and was created on February 8, 2023, Kotridis posted this image with the caption (in Greek), "To honor the colleagues who are doing their best to rescue the victims of the earthquakes in Turkey, I made this photo. I am here for you (translated)." OEMA reported, "As the creator states, this is a composition, not a real photo. Result of Photoshop and Midjourney (artificial intelligence program) mastered by himself."
A Twitter account created on February 10 shared the image with the caption, "Friends, we have launched an aid campaign to reach people who have experienced an #earthquake disaster in Turkey." The tweet also had crypto wallet addresses previously used in scam and spam tweets from 2018, according to a report by the BBC.
The image in question is not real and has been digitally created using AI software. The photo is being spread on social media as an actual image from the aftermath of the earthquake. Therefore, we have marked this claim as false.