The claim: An image of a trashed beach in Key West shows the city during this year’s spring break season
An old image of a trashed Key West, Florida, beach resurfaced in a Facebook post with the text “Key West after spring break. Brought to you by the kids so worried about the planet.”
But the picture and text together are misleading and purport to show this is what Key West looks like today after spring break mayhem. While the image does show Key West, it is not recent.
The post has about 16,000 shares and 2,800 reactions. USA TODAY reached out to the Facebook user for a comment.
Photo is years old
A reverse image search yielded various results, most of them blogs, that date as far back as 2013 and that use the same image posted to Facebook March 24.
The original photo was posted on the blog “This Week on the Island,” on March 16, 2013, with the caption “What they leave behind and must be cleaned daily.” The blog is about what happens in Key West weekly and continues to be updated by Doug Bennett. Bennett’s latest post was March 28.
USA TODAY reached out to Bennett, but did not get a response.
In 2016, the same image was used in a tweet also to make a point about trash left behind by spring breakers.
Key West Mayor Teri Johnston told USA TODAY in an email that spring break this year has been fine.
“I check regularly with our Chief of Police but it appears that we have welcomed a fun, respectful group of college students looking for some sun,” said Johnston.
She said there is a smaller group of students this year due to a high demand for lodging from guests staying a week or two on the island.
This year’s spring break madness in Miami Beach
Not only is the photo misrepresenting the current situation in Key West, it falsely portrays where Florida’s spring break trouble spot has been this year.
On March 20, the city of Miami Beach declared a state of emergency in its entertainment district and imposed an 8 p.m. curfew in South Beach in response to spring breakers.
Huge crowds of people gathered in the streets. There was dancing on cars with liquor bottles in hand. A man was recorded throwing cash in the air.
Interim City Manager Raul Aguilar told the Miami Herald the crowds were in the thousands. “We’re at capacity,” he said.
More:‘It’s only going to get more crazy’: Spring break crowds a concern during critical moment in COVID-19 fight
Our rating: False
The claim made by the image of a trashed beach in Key West paired with the text “Key West after spring break. Brought to you by the kids so worried about the planet” in a March 24 Facebook post is FALSE. While the image does show Key West, the original photo is from 2013 and was posted by Doug Bennett to his blog “This Week on the Island.” The post falsely claims to show what is happening during this year’s spring break in Key West.
Our fact-check sources:
- This Week on the Island, March 16, 2013, This Week on the Island 03/17/2013
- Key West Mayor Teri Johnston, March 30, emailed statement to USA TODAY
- USA TODAY, March 20, ‘It’s become a tinder’: Miami Beach declares state of emergency for entertainment district due to spring breakers
- The Washington Post, March 21, State of emergency in Miami Beach extended to April 11 as spring breakers overwhelm the city
- Joel Franco, March 20, tweet
- Miami Herald, March 20, Party’s over: Miami Beach closing causeways, imposing spring break South Beach curfew
- Miami Herald, March 24, Spring break curfew, road closures return to South Beach. Some residents staying home
- USA TODAY, March 22, ‘It’s fever-pitched’: Miami Beach to extend state of emergency after more than 1,000 arrested amid spring break
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