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Not long after a U.S. drone strike killed Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani on Jan. 3, videos started appearing on social media claiming to show footage of the attack.
In this YouTube video that was seen more than 2 million times after it was posted to Facebook on Jan. 11, a convoy of vehicles are visible from an aerial view and then attacked as they come into the crosshairs of a weapon.
"We’ve got guys running away from that vehicle," a man’s voice says as movement is visible in the right corner of the screen. "The vehicle is destroyed."
The video is titled: "Drone footage of top Iran general Qasem Solaimani assassination."
This post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)
That’s because the video is actually from the mobile phone game AC-130 Gunship Simulator. You can see the same clip here, though it’s better quality, under this title on YouTube: "AC-130 Gunship Simulator - Convoy engagement." It was posted on March 25, 2015.
As Poynter makes clear in this 2018 story on fake war videos, this isn’t the first time video game footage has been misappropriated. In 2017, the Russian Ministry of Defense published a series of photos that supposedly showed collusion between the United States and the Islamic state. But the images were screenshots from the same game that appears in this Facebook post.
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YouTube video, Jan. 9, 2020
YouTube video, March 25, 2015
The New York Times, What to know about the death of Iranian General Suleimani, Jan. 3, 2020
Poynter, Fake war videos are using footage from gamers on YouTube, May 2, 2018
Liberation, Supposed "links" between the United States and the Islamic State: Russia in full video fake, Nov. 14, 2017
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