On February 15 2019, the Facebook page “Quartzsite Happenings” published the following photograph, captioned “Stairway in an abandoned button factory”:
The compelling image began racking up shares, but it suspiciously lacked any sort of contextual information enabling its caption’s verification. It also was shared to Reddit‘s r/pics in September 2018, with a title identical to the caption in the Facebook post. Another version of the image was shared to r/abandonedporn.
Comments on the r/pics post were a bit more detailed, and readers largely doubted the explanation was accurate (despite it being a “cool” picture). Some surmised that the photograph was artistic in nature, while others disputed the plausibility of its details:
There is also no dust on the buttons. One would expect a thick layer of dust of this were genuine.
Edit: yes, there is a sequence of events in the universe that could theoretically lead to the stairs being perfectly shrouded in clean unbroken buttons. But isnt it far more likely that someone wanted a beautiful picture and staged it?
On YouTube, a video of urban explorers in a purported abandoned button factory featured a staircase at the 2:30 mark. Although buttons were strewn on a stairway, they were far less colorful and pervasive. Overall, the aesthetic seen in the video was not similar to that of the colorful photograph, as commenters pointed out.
In Reddit comments, the original poster provided a source for the photograph — an Instagram post shared by @dec_des in November 2016. That user claimed to have captured the photograph themselves, but we were unable to find any additional information other than a purported general location, Greece.
The image of a purported abandoned stairwell in a button factory began circulating on and off Instagram in early September 2018, where it had been originally shared nearly two years before. Although that person claimed to have taken the photograph in Greece, no information confirming its authenticity was available.