This photo of a 'government slogan' about diesel exhaust fluid is doctored

·2-min read

An image is circulating in Facebook posts that claim it show a message from the South Korean government aiming to reassure citizens as a shortage of diesel exhaust fluid threatened logistical chaos. The picture is doctored; the original photo shows a truck with a message about Covid-19 vaccines. A spokesperson said the South Korean government issued no such message about diesel exhaust fluid.

"This is why comedy shows no longer exist. No matter how primitive [the government's] standards are, if there are people who believe [what the government says] they should be thrown in North Korea's Daedong river," reads a Korean-language Facebook post on November 11.

The Facebook post appears to show a picture of a truck with a text that reads "Diesel exhaust fluid cannot beat Korea!" and "Diesel exhaust fluid transport vehicle".

Text above the image criticises South Korea's "trash government."

Screenshot of the misleading claim shared on Facebook. Captured November 24, 2021.

The same image circulated on Facebook here, here, here and here.

South Korea's government has come under fire for its handling of a shortage of diesel exhaust fluid (DEF), also known as "urea water," a key substance used in diesel vehicles to reduce air pollution.

The bulk of the country's supply comes from China, which banned the import of coal -- from which urea is extracted -- from Australia over a diplomatic row.

The shortage threatened to put a halt to diesel cargo trucking across South Korea, in turn jeopardising key industries, industry representatives warned.

However, the picture of the truck apparently showing a government slogan is doctored.

A reverse image search on Google found the original photo published by South Korean news agency Yonhap News on February 3, 2021.

Screenshot of the photo published by Yonhap News on its database on February 3, 2021. Captured November 24, 2021.

The photo's caption reads: "A truck designed to carry vaccines leaves Incheon International Airport on the morning of the 3rd toward the Korea Superfreeze [warehouse] in Pyeongtaek as part of a Covid-19 vaccine transportation exercise. 2021.2.3."

The slogan on the truck reads: "Corona cannot beat Korea! Covid-19 vaccine transport truck."

Below is a screenshot comparison of the doctored image shared on Facebook (left) and the original photo published by Yonhap News (right).

Screenshot comparison of the doctored image shared on Facebook (L) and the original photo published by Yonhap News (R)

Yonhap News published various other photos of the same truck here and here, while video footage of the truck can be seen here.

A South Korean government spokesperson told AFP on November 24 that the government's inter-ministerial task force in charge of resolving the DEF shortage said it has issued no advertisements on trucks or any other media regarding the South Korean government's acquisition of the liquid.

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