No, French news report didn’t exaggerate temperatures in Corsica

By: Chandan Borgohain
August 3 2023

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No, French news report didn’t exaggerate temperatures in Corsica


The Verdict False

The report was aired on July 18 when the temperature in Corsica crossed 42°C; the clip showing 32°C was recorded the day before.

Claim ID edb94618


A screenshot of a news report has been widely circulated on social media to claim that temperatures in France are exaggerated. Sharing the image on July 20, a Facebook user wrote, "This is a transnational coordinated psyop campaign. Now who could be behind it?" Another Facebook user shared the photo and wrote, "Q: Why would they be exaggerating the temperature? A:  They have an agenda to sell to the masses." A user shared a viral version of the same claim on the platform X (formerly Twitter) on July 20, garnering over 2.1m views and 17,100 reposts. You can see an archived version of the claim here.

These claims come against the backdrop of an unprecedented heatwave in Europe. According to a report by Le Monde, temperatures peaked in France on July 18. 

However, the news report did not exaggerate the temperature. 

In fact

At the top left corner of the viral image, which appeared to be a cropped screenshot of a video news report, are the letters "VS." We found this to be the French news channel CNEWS logo. 

We performed a search in French and found a weather report titled '"The moments of heat wave are longer and longer": Corsicans worried by the heat wave that affects the island of Beauty"' (translated from French) published by CNEWS on July 18. At the 0.01 timestamp of the video used in the report, we noticed the footage that showed a pharmacy thermometer displaying the temperature 32°C. 

At the top left corner of the video, below the logo of C NEWS, we noticed "BASTIA (HAUTE-CORSE) HIER," which in English means "BASTIA (UPPER-CORSICA) YESTERDAY." This indicated that this video segment showing 32°C temperature record was captured the day before it was broadcasted, i.e., on July 17. 

Later the same day, CNEWS aired a discussion show where, at the 0:23 timestamp, it used the same July 17 clip. We could see the original version of the text bar from the viral screenshot that read, "Canicule: Plus de 42C en Corse" (Heatwave: More than 42C in Corsica, in English). The voiceover reported that it was "42°C in Castirla this (that) afternoon".

The viral screenshot was taken from this particular portion of the video without the context of the voiceover and circulated on social media with the false claim.

Reports by Corse Matin and Le Figaro showed that Castirla, a commune in Upper Corsica, recorded 42.3°C on July 18. According to the French weather website, the temperature of Castirla reached 42.4°C at 4 p.m. on July 18. Further, according to data, the maximum temperature record for Bastia on July 17 was 32.4°C. We also geo-located the pharmacy on Google Street View and confirmed that it shows the "Pharmacie Ricci-Luciani" in Bastia, Corsica. 

The verdict

The news channel did not exaggerate the temperature rise in Corsica as claimed. The report used a visual captured on July 17 when the temperature in Bastia in upper Corsica was 32°C. The text bar showing 42°C refers to the temperature recorded in Corsica's Castirla on July 18. Therefore, we have marked this claim as false.

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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