Beirut explosion: Twitter flags fake video showing missile striking Lebanon port

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Twitter has flagged a fake video showing doctored footage alleging that a missile struck the Port of Beirut moments before an explosion on Tuesday caused mass destruction throughout the Lebanese capital city.

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A “manipulated media” label citing the Associated Press appears under the video that has been widely shared on Twitter and other social media platforms such as Facebook and WhatsApp. The colors in the footage had been inverted, and a missile was edited in as evidence to the claims that the explosion was caused by a strike.

The Associated Press fact checked the video and reported that the missile was “obviously fake,” citing a University of California, Berkeley professor who focuses on digital forensics.

“In addition, the missile looks far too large to be physically plausible and there is no motion blur on the missile as would be expected given the speed at which it would have been traveling,” the Associated Press quoted Farid as saying.

Meanwhile, a missile expert at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies in Monterey, California, called it a “cartoon missile that doesn’t look anything like a real missile striking a target.”

“If it were less amateurish, we could identify the actual missile type, estimate the reentry trajectory and speed, as well as look for digital artifacts,” the Associated Press quoted missile expert Jeffrey Lewis as saying. “But this isn’t good enough to bother with. This is more derp fake than deep fake.”

The blast which was caused by 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate that was stored in a warehouse has killed 154 people and wounded at least 5,000 others, according to the health minister.

Sixteen people have been arrested in Lebanon as part of the ongoing investigations into the cause of the blast that rocked Beirut, the state-run National News Agency reported on Thursday citing a judge.

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