FOLLY BEACH — The photo of a baby dolphin on a man’s arm in the surf is precious. Just ask commenters on the Facebook page, where it went viral this week.

The charm of the Folly Beach page posting had many of them wishing they were there.

“LOVE this. There must always be dolphins there. We went spring break 2011 and swam with the dolphins all day. They played so close to us,” commented Stacey Darrell Dodge of Richmond, Va.

As a tourism promotion, it rocked.

“Baby Dolphin was found in the surf — so young the umbilical cord was still attached!” the photo caption read. That’s all it said.

There was just one little problem: The dolphin had been rescued in Uruguay a year ago.

On top of that, a rehabilitation attempt had failed and the dolphin had died.

Sometimes social media is short on the details.

A number of people posted the address of the photo’s original website or asked the page operator,, to post full information.

As Friday went on, more than 8,500 people “liked” the posting, more than 3,000 shared it and more than 500 commented on it.

But unless they read earlier comments or checked, they didn’t know.

“Oooooh,” Dodge said when told, exhaling.

“I guess that’s just part of Facebook. You never know if what you’re seeing is factual or not.”

Justin VanBogart, a contact for the page, was not reached for comment Friday after phone calls and an email. VanBogart is co-founder of the local Facebook multi-platform management company, mediaspeedia.

The page lists itself as an official “Folly Beach” page and links to a real estate website.

“I think this was pretty harmless,” said Ron Hill, of the city’s Tourism and Visitors Promotion Committee.

The page doesn’t indicate the photo was taken on Folly, he said.

But it didn’t say it wasn’t. “People were just posting a really cool photograph of something you don’t see every day,” and the Folly Beach page apparently picked it up, he said.

Reach Bo Petersen at 937-5744, @bopete on Twitter or Bo Petersen Reporting on Facebook.