Several Indian media outlets on Monday ran a hoax message claiming that an explosion has occurred near the Pentagon - the headquarters of the United States Department of Defence, after an AI-generated image of an explosion in front of the Pentagon went viral
BOOM found no credible reports of any recent explosion near the Pentagon. Furthermore, the Fire Department of Arlington County, Virginia - where the Pentagon is located - further confirmed that the messages claiming the occurrence of an explosion are false.
"@PFPAOfficial and the ACFD are aware of a social media report circulating online about an explosion near the Pentagon. There is NO explosion or incident taking place at or near the Pentagon reservation, and there is no immediate danger or hazards to the public," Arlington county fire department wrote on its official Twitter handle.
The hoax message was initially picked up by Russian news outlet RT, which was later deleted. The message was also picked up by Indian news outlets News18 MP, First India News, Times Now Navbharat, and Zee News.
Nick Waters, digital investigator for Bellingcat, put out a tweet highlighting the discrepancies in the image of the explosion, and further confirming the use of generative AI to buld the image.
Indian Media Falls For Social Media Hoax
Twitter user @WhaleChart - which posts content related to cryptocurrency - shared the AI-generated image showing an explosion in front of the Pentagon building, with the caption, "BREAKING: Explosion near Pentagon."
Click here to view an archive of the above tweet.
Several social media users also mentioned that the image was shared with the same claim by Russian media outlet RT, which was later deleted.
While there were no credible reports on the explosion from any American news outlet, several Indian media outlets ran the fake claim as a real news report. These include News18 MP, First India News, Times Now Navbharat, and Zee News.
Republic TV had also shared the false claim, and later deleted it. The channel also put out a tweet highlighting its error, and its retraction of the previous tweet.
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