The explosion that rocked the port of Beirut in Lebanon is the latest in a long line of tragedies that have fallen victim to hoaxers looking to gain attention for their work.

You name the event from Pearl Harbor to Sandy Hook and there’s always someone looking to stir emotions and feed off the views. And as if the shocking images that sent shockwaves around the world weren’t enough drama, a particular hoaxer has muddied the waters by a video which claims to show missiles descending on the blast area.

It’s one of a handful of theories, including some claiming the event was a nuclear explosion, the main hoax around the incident has been triggered chiefly by two main videos.

The first video clearly shows a missile-like object striking the disaster zone prior to the explosion. But once slowed down and in taking a closer look it’s clearly evident that the missile is clearly a superimposed image.

The second fake video is slightly more compelling. From a different angle, it appears as though a missile strikes from the top right of frame. The video also uses an editing technique to mimic the look of a thermal camera, whoever when compared to other videos from the scene, it’s clear that the footage originates from the same source and the thermal version is a copy of the latter.

Bellingcat, a crowd-sourced fact-checking resource has documented these examples and others which paint a crystal clear picture and shoots down misinformation.

Daniel James
Authored by Daniel James

Daniel is a Melbourne-based multimedia journalist with international experience as an editor, producer, designer and artist at some of Australasia’s biggest newsrooms. A longtime commentator and reporter on internet culture, he now journals his observations on digital life and counterculture for Boldly.

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