With the combined death toll in the earthquake that jolted Turkey and Syria rising above 9,000, social media users worldwide are pouring in tributes for those killed in the disaster. Several others are sharing unverified visuals claiming to show the intensity and aftermath of the deadly earthquake. One such video showing vehicles, apparently stranded on a road, trembling under the impact of tremors is going viral online, with several users linking the footage to the recent disaster in Turkey. Newschecker found that the video is old, and is being shared in a false context.
Several Facebook users shared a black-and-white version of the video as the visuals of vehicles trembling during Turkey earthquake.
Links to such posts can be found here, here, here and here.
A coloured version of the video is doing the rounds on Twitter and YouTube.
Links to such posts can be seen here, here, here and here.
Turkey Tragedy Becomes Misinformation Magnet
Since the reports of the massive earthquake in Turkey broke online, social media platforms are flooded with unverified visuals and images claiming to show the impact of the natural disaster. Old videos from far off locations including US and Japan, have been shared claiming to show the effect of the earthquake in Turkey. Newschecker has debunked several such visuals over the past two days. Our fact checks on the Turkey earthquake can be seen here, here, here and here.
On scanning through the comment sections of the posts carrying the viral video, we spotted several users pointing that the footage is actually from Japan and not Turkey. Further, we also noticed that the road seen in the viral clip is not on ground level, but on a higher altitude- suggesting that it’s likely a flyover or highway.
Taking a clue, we conducted a keyword search for “Earthquake,” & “Japan highway” in Japanese on YouTube which led us to a video by Satoshi Saito, dated April 10, 2011, titled ‘The Great East Japan Earthquake @ Metropolitan Expressway shaking.’ Though the footage did not feature the exact same visuals as seen in the viral clip, we found the structure and design of the building adjacent to the road similar in both the videos.
Following this, we looked up “Earthquake,” “Metropolitan Expressway” & “Japan” in Japanese on YouTube, which yielded a video by YR, dated February 19, 2019, carrying the same visuals of vehicles shaking on the highway as seen in the viral clip.
The video featured a timestamp and location coordinates (latitude and longitude) at the bottom of the screen. Though the timestamp confirmed that the video was shot in 2011. We continued our investigation to ascertain the exact location of filming of the video.
Tracing The Location
We noticed the location coordinates (latitude and longitude) on the bottom right on the screen, and looked up the same on Google Earth View. This led us to the exact location seen in the viral video, identified as Mukojima Line Sumida City, Tokyo.
A Google Street view of the same can be seen here.
We could thus conclude that over a decade old video of vehicles shaking during tremors in Japan’s Tokyo has been falsely shared as visuals of the recent earthquake in Turkey.
YouTube Video By Satoshi Saito, Dated April 10, 2011
YouTube Video By YR, Dated February 19, 2019
Google Earth View
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