No, These Images Do Not Show Anthony Fauci Getting Arrested And Pope Francis Wearing A Puffer Jacket; Images Created By AI Art Tools

We found that all the images featuring Pope Francis, Narendra Modi, Julian Assange, and Anthony Fauci are are all generated by AI. The images are indicative of misinformation that may spread across social media through the use of AI.

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Images showing Pope Francis wearing a puffer jacket, the alleged arrest of former Chief Medical Advisor to the President of the United States Anthony Fauci, and what appears to be a physically weak Wikileaks founder Julian Assange are being widely circulated across social media.


The first image shows Anthony Fauci being purportedly restrained and arrested. Several officers can be seen restraining Fauci. The image is viral with the claim, “Was Fauci arrested? First Arrest?”

The second image shows Pope Francis in a white-colored puffer jacket and is shared by social media users asserting that the image is real.

The third image shows Prime Minister Narendra Modi looking through a microscope. The image is shared with the claim, "The voters of the country and the world are watching the Prime Minister of India in the disguise of a doctor, the lens and the eye do not match, where is the eye and where is the lens, which investigation or research. The lens is coming in between both the eyes. If any opposition party was shown doing this kind of investigation, the news channel would have played drums all over the world for 3 days."

The fourth image shows Julian Assange appearing disoriented and physically drained. The image is shared with the claim, “Latest picture of Julian Assange in the UK prison. There is no such thing as freedom of speech. The Establishment is run by thugs.”

Fact Check:

Image 1:

As per the White House website, Dr. Fauci, for four decades, has served as the Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and helped the US navigate health crises ranging from HIV/AIDS to COVID-19.

We conducted a keyword search for Anthony Fauci’s arrest and could not find any report. However, we noticed several discrepancies in the viral image. In one section of the image, the police officer restraining Fauci is seen with another finger in place of a thumb. In another section of the image, a right arm of a police officer seems to be attached to the left side of the policewoman in the second image.

We came across a tweet that contained the same photos. The image is flagged by Twitter saying, “This tweet seems to show images of public health official Anthony Fauci being arrested by police, which is altered. The images were produced using AI image generation, similar to those that surfaced of former President Donald Trump a couple of days ago.”

We compared images of Fauci available online to the one in the viral image and found them to be significantly different.

Image Comparission

Image 2:

We conducted a keyword search with the terms, ‘Pope’ and ‘Viral image’, and came across a Buzzfeed News report titled, ‘We Spoke To The Guy Who Created The Viral AI Image Of The Pope That Fooled The World’ published on 27 March 2023.

Image Credit: Buzzfeed News

The Buzzfeed News report noted that the viral image was created by Pablo Xavier (31), a construction worker from the Chicago area. The creator's last name was altered in the report as per his request. The Buzzfeed report notes that Xavier creates "funny or psychedelic" images using an AI art tool named Midjourney.

As per the report, Xavier imagined "the Pope wearing a Balenciaga puffer coat and walking the streets of Rome or Paris".

Image Credit: Buzzfeed News

Image 3:

We conducted a reverse image search on the viral image and came across a report by Zee News dated April 09, 2023. According to the report, the viral image was created using an AI tool.

Image Credit: Zee News

We then observed the image carefully and found a watermark "SAHID" on the bottom right corner. Taking a hint from it, we did a keyword search and found an Instagram profile named "Sahxid" in which the viral image can be seen. His bio mentioned him as "digital creator" an a AI enthusiast who makes AI-generated images.

Image Credit: Instagram

We went through his profile and found that Shahid has shared photos of Mahatma Gandhi, PM Modi and many others, wearing different clothes depicting different professions. The caption of the post reads, "Artificial intelligence envisions Narendra Modi in diverse professions through the creation of different images. @narendramodi."

Image 4:

We conducted a reverse image search on the viral image and came across an article by German tabloid Bild dated April 2, 2023. The article carried the image and noted that it was created by the account The Errant Friend / E. We also noticed the watermark across the image which reads, ‘Property of “E”

Image Credit: Bild

The German media outlet, Bild, in an interview with “The Errant Friend“ answered BILD and confirmed that the photo was produced by him.

“My intention was to create an image based on the documented happenings around Julian. After his arrest, he was basically barred from public appearances, including at his own trials. This means the public is unable to witness what has been done to him, but there is evidence of his decline mentally and physically. I sought, through this image, to create something that put people into a moral quandary.”

“What does the public do when they can actively see that state of being? If we were to unerase his face,” the BILD report adds. The Errant Friend“ informed BILD that he used the program MidJourney to produce the photo.

We also came across the image uploaded on the Twitter handle of The Errant Friend on March 30, 2023.

The Twitter account has also been posting other AI-generated images of Assange.

AI, an emerging for misinformation?

We checked a report published by the Reuters Institute on April 11, 2023, to assess the state of AI in misinformation. The rise of AI-generated images is emerging as a growing concern for journalists and fact-checkers surveyed. There are concerns regarding the rapid improvement of the AI models which will make fact-checking tougher.

As per the report, experts note that the impact of AI-based misinformation can be diminished by fostering media literacy and educating citizens in personal fact-checking techniques.

The Reuters Institute report notes that journalists and fact-checkers are already working on increasing the media literacy of their audiences so that they don’t fall for misinformation.


We found that all the images featuring Pope Francis, Narendra Modi, Julian Assange, and Anthony Fauci are all generated by AI. The images generated by AI are believed to be real by social media users. The images are indicative of misinformation that may spread across social media through the use of AI. Thus, the viral images are morphed.

If you have any news that you believe needs to be fact-checked, please email us at or WhatsApp at 6364000343.

Also Read: Is The New Parliament Building Being Constructed For Rs 1 By Tata Group? No, The Viral Claim Is False

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Editor : Bharat Nayak
Creatives : Jakir Hassan

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