Photos of French President being shared with false claim

The photos do not depict Macron after a call with Putin on 8 March 2022

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Claim: Photos depict French President Emmanuel Macron after an 8 March 2022 call with Russian President Vladimir Putin regarding the invasion of Ukraine. 

Fact: The photos do depict Emmanuel Macron but were not taken on 8 March 2022. 

Fact or Fiction?

On 8 March 2022, Visegrád 24 tweeted photos of French President Emmanuel Macron, claiming that the photos were released by his official residence Élysée Palace after Macron’s call with Russian President Vladimir Putin “today”. 

A handful of Facebook pages also picked up the claim including here and here.  

The latest phone exchange between the two leaders took place on 6 March 2022 during which Macron urged Putin to end Russia’s military operations in Ukraine and to protect Ukraine’s nuclear sites, as reported by Reuters. The call lasted nearly two hours.

The two presidents have spoken four times since Russia invaded Ukraine on 24 February 2022.

A tweet from Macron’s official account on 7 March 2022 confirmed that he spoke “with President Putin and then with President Zelensky”.

The claim in Visegrád 24’s tweet is false because the photos of Macron doing the rounds on social media were not taken on 8 March. 

Soch Fact Check ascertained that the photographs were taken by the French President’s official photographer Soazig de la Moissonnière. According to Moissonnière’s Instagram account, the three photos featured in Visegrád 24’s tweet were taken on different dates; 9 February, 18 February and 4 March. 

One of the photos shows Macron after a meeting in the Green room, while the other two show Macron on international calls in the Golden Room at Élysée Palace. 

The proliferation of the pictures with the misleading caption appears linked to Russia’s recent invasion of Ukraine. It is  pertinent to note, however, that two of the pictures were taken before Russia invaded Ukraine. 

Virality

Soch Fact Check conducted a CrowdTangle analysis using the search term, “French President Macron after his call with Putin today.” The analysis turned up 28 posts on Facebook that together received more than 2,178 interactions over the last three days leading up to 9 March 2022.

Facebook page Vigilant Info’s post received 18 likes and five shares, while Volunteer Info’s post received 29 likes and four shares.

Visegrád 24’s tweet gained significant traction, receiving 41,400 likes, 8,039 retweets and 18,800 quote tweets.

A Google Search revealed that the tweet was also picked up by some websites including, here and here

Conclusion: The viral photos of French President Emmanuel Macron were not taken on 8 March 2022. These photos were taken between February and March 2022 and some, in fact, predate Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. 

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