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• The video is footage from a live broadcast of a video game.
Social media users misunderstood the origins of a viral video that supposedly showed attempted airstrikes by China near Taiwan.
The video, which was shared on Facebook Dec. 27 and had been viewed more than 9 million times, showed a military-type aircraft in flight, sometimes firing missiles, while artillery is fired at it from the ground. The caption in the video title read, "See how the planes crashed again when China failed to launch air strikes near Taiwan #2."
The 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.)
But the footage was from a live broadcast of a video game as it was being played. A heading on the Facebook post says the poster, Gorib gaming, was live, playing Grand Theft Auto V.
The Gorib gaming Facebook page says it is operated by a gaming content creator. Every video posted on the page is a live stream of video gameplay.
We contacted Gorib gaming for comment but did not receive a reply. And after we started fact-checking the claim in the Facebook video’s title, it was updated to read only, "Arma 3 Iron Dom Vs Rockets #2" — a more accurate description as the video appears visually similar to other live streams of Arma 3 posted by Gorib gaming.
But that title change (which was not accompanied by a formal correction on the post) came after the video generated thousands of comments, with some people appearing to believe the footage showed an actual attempt by China to launch airstrikes near Taiwan.
One commenter wrote, "Really bad aim, all them projectiles not one hit, I’d invest in better weapons because these only work on missiles that go in straight lines." Another said, "Wonder how much all of those missed hits cost the Tax Payer’s." And one person incorrectly claimed that turrets shown in the video "are the defensive units of Israel, not Taiwan."
The misinterpretation of the video game footage comes on the heels of real-life tension between China and Taiwan. China’s air force has carried out repeated missions near Taiwan, an island that claims independence but that China claims as its own.
In December, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said the missions "look like ‘rehearsals’ though he did not indicate that he expected Beijing actually to carry out such operations," Reuters reported.
A Facebook video showed a military-type aircraft in flight, sometimes firing missiles, while artillery was fired at it from the ground. The caption in the video title read, "See how the planes crashed again when China failed to launch air strikes near Taiwan #2."
The video was footage from a live broadcast of a video game and did not show actual footage of airstrikes. The title of the video was changed as we started fact-checking it, but not before many of the thousands of people who viewed the footage commented as though they believed it to be real.
We rate that claim Pants on Fire!
Facebook.com, Business Help Center, "Game Tagging," accessed Jan. 2, 2021
Facebook post, Dec. 27, 2021
Facebook post, Dec. 27, 2021
Facebook post, Dec. 30, 2021
Reuters, "Chinese military flights near Taiwan look like 'rehearsals'- Pentagon chief," Dec. 5, 2021
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