Houston man’s fake photo of shark in floodwaters shows how gullible we can be

On Tuesday a man from Houston, Texas named Ryan Maxwell posted a photo to his Facebook wall and became an instant internet star.

As just about everyone in North America is aware of, Texas has experienced some extreme and tragic flooding in the past several days.

The caption Maxwell included with the photo is pretty self-explanatory:

“It’s flooding so bad in Houston that there is a f—ing shark on the road.”

Shark in Houston

Currently, the picture has roughly 50,000 shares on Facebook alone… and that’s why I decided to write this blog, because it turns out that it’s all a big ploy by Maxwell.

Despite the fact that it takes about twenty seconds to figure it out, what probably amounts to millions of people have fallen for the trick since Maxwell first posted the photo.

Comments like, “oh my God, this is so crazy!” and, “This needs to be archived for future civilizations!” only go to show how gullible we have become as consumers of the new media.

As someone who spends a fair amount of time reading angry emails and comments threads wondering if the irate people even bothered to read the entire story, I figure this is a good time for a poll.

I’ll admit, I have been guilty of this in the past, so my answer to this poll question is a sheepish “yes.”

What’s yours?

Note: What is most likely the real story of where the shark photo came from can be found at snopes.com.


Chris Shorr

About Chris Shorr

Chris is a sixth generation Portlander who loves all things Maine. He has worked with mentally ill and marginalized adults at a Portland non-profit, on a lobster boat in Casco Bay, at several high-end Portland restaurants, and at a local meat packing plant. He also ran for Portland City Council in 2013, wrote a weekly column in the now defunct Portland Daily Sun, and currently writes a weekly column in The Portland Phoenix.