Did 'Avoiding The Future Plague' PSA Predict COVID-19 Pandemic?
BOOM found that the video is a mashup of old clips from movies overlaid with a narration mentioning the 2020 pandemic.
A viral video showing a public service announcement, seemingly from 1956 and predicting the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, is fake.
BOOM found that the video titled 'Avoiding The Future Plague' was made in 2020 and not 1956, as claimed. Further, the clip shows a collection of various old archival footage and has been overlaid with a narration - predicting the pandemic - that was recorded earlier this year after the disease has impacted the whole world.
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We received the two-minute-long PSA video on our helpline number multiple times with users asking to fact check the veracity of the claims.
A keyword search on Facebook and Twitter led us to longer versions of the video uploaded by users since August. We also noticed that the video has been widely shared over the past week.
The video shows a variety of old footage of technological pursuits as 'predictions of the future'. The narration quickly shifts from talking about technology to the future possibility of diseases, and speaks of a global pandemic occurring in 2020.
Towards the end of the video, the narrator is about to reveal how people can 'avoid this future plague' when the video cuts to a screen saying "Missing Footage" after which the PSA ends.
BOOM ran a reverse image search on various key frames from the PSA and wasalso able to trace some of the footage used in the clip from older short films.
The following scenes from the PSA were taken from a 1940 short film called Leave It To Roll-Oh.
While the footage of a woman sipping coffee has been taken from a 1956 public service film called Tornado by United Gas Corporation and the Texas Eastern Transmission Corporation.
BOOM was alsoable to trace the earliest instance of this clip appearing online to a YouTube video uploaded on February 29, 2020, by a user called RamsesThePigeon who admitted to having made the video.
The caption of the video reads, "It's hilarious to look back on what people from the 1950s thought the future would be like! Archival and public domain footage was acquired from Archive.org. Also, yes, I only threw this together because I wanted to have a video upload on February 29th."
In the caption, the user admits to using archival footage and states that 'he threw this together just to have an upload on February 29' - the leap year day.
BOOM was unable to independently ascertain whether YouTube user RamsesThePigeon was behind the making of the PSA.
However, given that the PSA itself has been made from clips of various different short films, it leads us to believe that "Avoiding The Future Plague" is not a real PSA from the 1950s but has been made recently using a collection of old footage.
The claim has been previously debunked by Snopes.
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