AI-generated image shared as farmers dumping hay in Paris amid ongoing protests

By: Rajini KG
February 7 2024

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AI-generated image shared as farmers dumping hay in Paris amid ongoing protests

A post on X (formerly Twitter) sharing the viral image shared. (Source: X/Modified by Logically Facts)


The Verdict Fake

The image showing bales of hay dumped near the Eiffel Tower in Paris was created using the AI platform Midjourney.

Claim ID b6a4ef6a

What’s the claim?

An image is being shared on social media with the claim that farmers protesting in France have dumped large bales of hay in Paris. The viral image ( here and here) shows the hay bales unloaded around the iconic Eiffel Tower. 

This is one of the many visuals going viral online amid the protests by farmers in France and other parts of Europe as they struggle to keep up with the climate policies of the European Union. In their protests, farmers have raised various issues, including a drop in income and competition from markets abroad, like Ukraine, where produce is subsidized.

Screenshots of posts sharing the viral image on social media. (Source: X/Facebook/Modified by Logically Facts)

From blocking roads to spraying manure at supermarkets and commercial establishments, farmers have deployed various tactics to register their concerns. French authorities, in response, have deployed armored vehicles in Paris to protect wholesale food markets. 

However, the image of the towers of hay bales surrounding the Eiffel Tower is fake. The image was created on the Artificial Intelligence (AI) application Midjourney. 

How did we debunk this?

Through a reverse image search, we found that the same photo was shared on the Instagram account ‘thetrillionairelife.’ The image shared on February 2 was captioned: “If only Paris could hear the echoes of our countryside.” It was credited to an Instagram account called ‘’ 

According to the bio of the Instagram account ‘,’ the user is a Paris-based artist who creates AI images through platforms like Midjourney. The same image was posted on this account on February 1. 

We found that the Instagram account ‘’ is run by one Vincent Smadja, an AI artist who had also shared the viral image on his LinkedIn page on February 1. On LinkedIn, he had stated that the image captured how he imagined Paris would look if farmers passed through the French capital. He also added a note to the image, cautioning people not to share it “without mentioning that it was generated by AI to prevent fake news in the current context.”

Smadja has now removed the viral image from his Instagram account, noting that many people mistook it as real. He also mentioned on an Instagram story that the image was flagged as an altered content by Instagram. Screenshots of his stories can be viewed below.

Screenshots of the '' Instagram stories. (Source: Instagram)

Smadja confirmed to Logically Facts that he created the now-viral image on Midjourney. He added, “I had to remove the image because of Instagram sanctions.” Smadja usually uses Midjourney to create AI art, reported Prazzle, a bi-annual magazine dedicated to visual arts, in a profile of the Parisian artist. 

The verdict

An AI image created by Paris-based visual artist Vincent Smadja was misrepresented as a real image from Paris. Therefore, we mark this claim as fake.

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Global Fact-Checks Completed

We rely on information to make meaningful decisions that affect our lives, but the nature of the internet means that misinformation reaches more people faster than ever before