Fast-food giant McDonald's faced criticism in October over its Israeli franchise's move to offer free meals to soldiers taking part in the war against Hamas. A video with thousands of views showing protesters dumping dung outside a McDonald's is, however, unrelated to the war, contrary to claims on social media. It in fact shows French farmers protesting against the corporation for reportedly relying on imported meat rather than local produce.

"The French are protesting against a fast-food chain that supports Israel by dumping cow manure in front of the restaurant!" reads a Facebook post, written in Thai, posted on November 25.

The video, which has more than 2,300 views, shows a truck dumping manure outside a McDonald's branch.

The post was shared in a Facebook group with 118,000 followers.

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The video was shared around the world, including in posts in English, German, Turkish, Arabic, Indonesian and Malay, that falsely linked it to the Israel-Hamas conflict.

The war erupted after Hamas fighters launched a surprise attack against Israel on October 7, killing about 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and kidnapping around 240, according to Israeli authorities.

Israel responded by vowing to destroy Hamas, pummelling Gaza with an air and ground campaign that has killed more than 17,000 people, most of them women and children, according to the territory's Hamas-run government.

A week after the Hamas attack, McDonald's Israeli franchise announced it would give away thousands of free meals to the Israel Defense Forces -- a move that sparked uproar in Arab and Muslim countries.

The food giant's global headquarters in Chicago later distanced itself from the Israeli move, saying that actions taken by franchised business partners "were made independently without McDonald’s consent or approval".

Meat protest

Keyword searches found an article about 150 French farmers who dumped manure at both a McDonald's and a Burger King branch in November.

The article, written by AFP and published by Canadian newspaper Journal de Montréal, said demonstrators in the eastern French town of Vesoul accused the fast-food chains of "massively importing foreign meat" to make their hamburgers.

The demonstrators were part of the Departmental Federation of Farmers' Unions (FDSEA ) in the French region of Haute-Saone, according to the report.

The farmers' group posted photos of the protest on Facebook and X, formerly known as Twitter (archived links here and here).

Below is a screenshot comparison of the video shared in false posts on social media (left) and a photo of the protest posted by the farmers' union (right). AFP has highlighted similarities.

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© AFP

Other French-language media reported on the protest, including France Bleu and Le Figaro (archived links here and here).

AFP has previously debunked other misinformation around the Israel-Hamas war.