Victoria's state premier Daniel Andrews speaks during a press conference in Melbourne on August 5, 2020. (AFP / William West)

Facebook posts mislead on Australian politician’s injury

Copyright AFP 2017-2021. All rights reserved.

Multiple Facebook posts have shared online news reports about an injury sustained by Australian politician Daniel Andrews that they claim were published one day before the accident on March 9, 2021. The posts suggest the injury may have been staged. But the posts are misleading: the news reports were published on March 9 in Australia. The reports show US timestamps for March 8, as the US timezone is behind Australia. 

A screenshot of a report by Guardian Australia was shared here on Facebook on June 8, 2021.

The report’s purported publication date -- “Mon 8 March 2021 22.50 EST” -- had been circled in red.

The post’s caption states in part: “Wait a minute, didn't the #danandrews injury story happen Tuesday 9 March?”

Daniel Andrews, premier of the Australian state of Victoria, announced on March 9, 2021 that he was admitted to a hospital after falling on slippery stairs. 

His injury has become the subject of baseless speculations including allegations of a cover-up, the Australian publication The Conversation reported here

A screenshot of the misleading tweet as of June 10, 2021. (A screenshot of the misleading tweet as of June 10, 2021.)

Screenshots of a separate report published by ABC News were also shared alongside a similar claim in Facebook posts here, here, here and here

The posts are misleading.

The reports show date stamps in “EST” -- US Eastern Standard Time.

This is 16 hours behind “AEDT” -- Australia’s Eastern Daylight Time.

Spokespersons for Guardian Australia and ABC News separately confirmed their reports were published on March 9, 2021.

“Yes, the story was published on 9 March,” a spokesperson for Guardian Australia told AFP.

“The article in AMP shows 8 March 22.50 EST because that was the time in EST when it was 9 March 14.50 in AEDT.”

“AMP” is an acronym for accelerated mobile pages -- a product created by Google for viewing web pages faster on mobile devices. In these cases, the news reports viewed on AMP did not automatically show the local time.

“When viewed in AMP, articles from The Guardian globally display their timestamps in EST, preventing the article from displaying the local timezone,” the spokesperson explained.

The ABC News report was also published “on 9 March 2021”, a spokesperson for the organisation told AFP.

Melbourne newspaper The Age, Australian Associated Press, and Sky News Australia all reported on Andrews' injury on March 9, 2021.