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Perhaps I need an explanation regarding what is considered a notable claim. I was under the impression that the claim should come from a source that has at least the appearance of being reliable, and that joke pictures form joy reactor reposted by random Facebook users such as this one (Did Russia release lions onto the streets to keep people in isolation?) don't qualify.

Claim: Lions on the streets in Russia

Did I miss something?

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  • Not reliable, notable. If a lot of people have seen it or believe it, then it qualifies for a fact check. Also, a close vote is not a super downvote; if you believe a question is of low quality, you can change its score by 1 to voice your opinion. – M.A.R. Mar 27 at 16:31
  • @M.A.R. If you read closely, Dmitry seems to lament not that the Q grabs something which is not reliable, but the 'lack of notability because it doesn't even appear as reliable (ie meant seriously)'. That this joke might be taken as 'real thang' and believed is not impossible, although I also find this a bit stretchy. The apprently inevitable upvote avalanche for a self-answered Q however… – LangLаngС Mar 27 at 16:48
  • @LangLangC Oh, my apologies. I don't visit Facebook. But anyway, the question on the main site has no indication that it was supposed to be a joke, so people debunked it all the same. It's just extremely absurd, and there have been extremely absurd claims before. If we put aside the possibility that it wasn't meant to be serious, though, social media claims have been on-topic, AFAICT. – M.A.R. Mar 27 at 16:59
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    @LаngLаngС Never underestimate what Poe can convince the internet to believe. – fredsbend Mar 27 at 19:39
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The first time I saw this claim about lions was not on Skeptics.SE, but when former British politician, Lord Alan Sugar tweeted about it asking if it was real.

(I don't follow Sugar; I came across mocking retweets from skeptics.)

So, when I saw the Skeptics.SE question, I was satisfied it was notable.

A Newsweek article supports that view:

Some people believe that Russian President Vladimir Putin has released hundreds of lions into the streets of Russia as a way to keep people in their homes and stop them from making the coronavirus outbreak even worse. A bogus tweet that features a doctored photo of a lion standing in a dark, empty street is circling the web and being taken as truth—as evidence of the next wave of COVID-19 prevention.

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    Wow! I never thought this could be taken seriously. Now I see why people of Asian appearance are so pissed about Trump calling CoVID-19 "the Chinese virus". – Dmitry Grigoryev Apr 1 at 7:44
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I'd agree with you, it's not really a notable claim.

Or at least the question hasn't shown that it is; the fact that multiple factcheckers - eg 1, 2, 3 - covered the issue might show notability (the fact that all google results for "russia lion covid19" are about how it's not true shows that it is a boring claim).

As the question has now been seen 18k times, I guess it can be argued that it's in either case a notable claim now.

Regarding notable vs reliable: Sources in questions are to show notability. They do not need to use reliable sources, though they shouldn't use satirical sources if they can't show that people actually believe it for some reason (an article from the onion for example would not show notability; if a well-known politician were to pick up their story and talk about it as if it were fact, that would show notability - even if the politician isn't reliable).

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