Posts falsely claim UN removed country banners for pride month

  • This article is more than one year old.
  • Published on June 13, 2023 at 18:29
  • 2 min read
  • By Natalie WADE, AFP USA
Social media posts claim the United Nations (UN) has replaced the 193 member state banners outside its headquarters with LGBTQ pride flags. This is false; the photos shared as supposed evidence show Rockefeller Center, not the intergovernmental peacekeeping organization.

"The United Nations replaces all 193 country flags with LGBT flags," claims a June 8, 2023 Instagram post.

Similar allegations circulated on Facebook, TikTok and Twitter, with one tweet asking: "Why do they force this on people?"

Several posts cite a June 7 headline from the Spanish-language website Voz.

Screenshot of an Instagram post taken June 12, 2023

The posts come amid surges in anti-LGBTQ rhetoric and disinformation during pride month in June. Their claims about the UN are the latest iteration of that trend.

"This is false; the photo shows Rockefeller Center and not the UN Headquarters," UN spokesman Farhan Haq told AFP. "We are not connected to Rockefeller Plaza."

AFP confirmed the location of the image by conducting a reverse image search, which indicated the picture (archived here) was taken in 2019 at Rockefeller Plaza in Manhattan.

Translated from German to English, the photo caption says: "Rainbow flags at Rockefeller Plaza, New York City, to mark the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, 2019."

Screenshot of Wikimedia Commons taken June 12, 2023

Although Rockefeller Plaza does usually display 193 country flags similar to the UN, the complex has switched them out on several occasions -- including for pride month.

Artist Ibrahim Mahama's "Untitled," jute sack "flags" on display around Rockefeller Center in New York on April 25, 2019 ( AFP / Timothy A. Clary)
Rainbow flags fly in the wind at Rockefeller Center in celebration of pride month on June 26, 2020 in New York City ( AFP / Angela Weiss)



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