A January 20 2020 post on the Facebook page “Quick Turtle” (called “How Canadians Are Dealing With An Unprecedented Blizzard”) was shared almost 60,000 times in two days:
In addition to the status update and title, nineteen images were appended to the post. These showed doorways entirely blocked by snow, “snow walls” into which roads were re-carved, and people standing upon several feet of snow, among other things.
The page didn’t provide a source for the images, and on first glance it appeared that some of the photographs (such as the “snow walls”) might have been old, repurposed viral images. Many of the photographs appeared in a far larger gallery of 43 images published to Imgur.
It wasn’t entirely clear which image set came first, the one on Facebook or the one on Imgur. Facebook displayed a date, but Imgur labeled the images as “one day ago” on January 22 2020. In the Imgur set, user thegreatunknown titled the post “So, we had a bit of a snow storm (Newfoundland)…”:
At least one user accused the poster of having stolen old images from previous snowstorms in other locations:
It’s interesting how a lot of these were stolen from other posts made by people not even in Canada.
In response, the original poster explained where they had located the photographs:
Actually, they’re all from a facebook page for my province. People not from here might be sharing, but they were definitely taken here.
— broken down momma (@BCbaydoll) January 17, 2020
Similar (but not identical) photographs were published by the Washington Post on January 21 2020:
Meteorologists knew it was going to be significant, but even they were surprised by the ferocity of a [January 17 and 18 2020] blizzard in Newfoundland and Labrador. Two and a half feet of snow fell, wind gusts reached 100 mph, and snowfall rates of four inches per hour combined to produce drifts up to 15 feet tall. The city of St. John’s has been under a state of emergency since.
Several iterations of the January 2020 “How Canadians Are Dealing With An Unprecedented Blizzard” post circulated on Facebook and Imgur, and the images at least in part matched contemporaneous photographs from a blizzard in Newfoundland and Labrador on January 17 and 18 2020. One person sharing the photographs said they obtained the images from a likely private Facebook group, making the origins of the images difficult to trace. We reverse-searched several of the photographs and did not see any from before January 2020, but it was possible older and unrelated snow images made it into the massive photosets.