News agency ANI shared a tweet from its Uttar Pradesh (UP) and Uttarakhand account, quoting a labourer speaking about the impact of COVID-19 restrictions in Noida, Uttar Pradesh. Publishing two tweets on the topic, the agency shared four photographs of labourers standing in wait.
But the tweet was labelled as 'fake' by Uttar Pradesh Information and Public Relations Department's verified fact-checking Twitter account, which stated that the claim was misleading as the photographs were not from Uttar Pradesh.
However, we carefully observed the photos and found visual cues that confirmed that the photographs were from Uttar Pradesh. While we cannot confirm the statements made in the tweet, we found that the photographs were taken at Labour Chowk in Noida.
'Info Uttar Pradesh Fact Check,' the verified Twitter account of the Information and Public Relations Department under the government of Uttar Pradesh 'fact-checked' the tweet and said that the claim was false since the photographs were not from Uttar Pradesh.
WHAT WE FOUND OUT
We saw that the ANI tweet shared by 'Info Uttar Pradesh Fact Check' was shared at 12:29 pm on 16 January 2022. We looked for it and found that it was one of two tweets in a Twitter thread.
As the first tweet in the thread contained clearer photographs, we used it to determine the location of the photos.
We carried out a reverse image search on this photograph, adding a search engine filter to find it on ANI's website. It led us to an article dated 16 January, which carried two of the photos used in the claim.
The report mentioned that daily wage labourers stood at Labour Chowk in Noida, Uttar Pradesh hoping to get some work.
Taking a clue from this, we looked up the location on Google Maps and found that photograph was indeed taken at Noida's Labour Chowk.
In this photo, a board that reads 'Breakthrough Point - Noida Defence Academy' is visible, along with other banners bearing names of competitive exams.
Next, we looked for other visual elements to verify the location. We looked up 'Labour Chowk Noida' on YouTube and came across a Mojo Story video report on labourers struggling to find employment from December 2020. - That other image shows the building. Let's use that.
Here, we saw the same banner in the background in multiple frames throughout the video.
The third photo shared in the ANI tweet was also present in the report on the agency's website, where it was shared as a picture from Noida's Labour Chowk.
We noticed that this image closely resembled a section of the previous photograph in the set.
On observing both the photos carefully, we saw that the background and people present in both photographs were the same.
Not only does the gate pattern match in both images, they also show a marker that looks like 'C-68' on the gate, which appears in Breakthrough Point's address.
The same background can also be seen in a 2019 NDTV India report on unemployment among educated people, where the reporter speaks to workers at Noida's Labour Chowk.
While this image does not have many visual cues to determine its location, we found one detail in this image that matched the first one.
The small yellow hoarding seen to the man's right, above the moving vehicle was also seen in the background of the first image.
The red rooftop of a building in the background and a white building beside it, right above the hoarding, are visible in both photographs.
ANI's UP and Uttarakhand later issued a clarification on the text in the tweet, noting that there was no curfew in Noida and that the text was a verbatim quote from a labourer.
We are not commenting on what the labourers told the news agency, but only proving through visual evidence that the pictures are indeed from Noida, Uttar Pradesh.
The Quint has contacted both Info Uttar Pradesh Fact-Check and PIB Lucknow for a clarification and will update the article with their response as and when it is received.