Shocking images of the eruption of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano off the coast of the Tonga Islands have flooded social networks since 15 January. But several fake videos have crept in among the authentic images, which come from near the Kampar River in Indonesia.
A tsunami caused by a powerful eruption of an underwater volcano in Tonga, an archipelago of islands in the South Pacific, has caused extensive damage. No one was injured, according to New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.
Photos and videos have circulated widely on social media, showing the outbreak and its consequences.
However, we’ve seen some fake posts that have been shared with the hashtags #TongaVolcano or #PrayforTonga.
We verified them with the InVid WeVerify tool (click here to find out how) to see where they really came from.
A boxer is washed away … in Indonesia The first surprising video: Aman hits a tree while a woman is filming him. Suddenly he ends up in a wave that comes from nowhere. The post was shared on Twitter by a user who claimed to be an Indian journalist. It was viewed over 1.5 million times and was also posted on Facebook again.
A reverse image search with InVid WeVerify finds the video on YouTube. It was published on December 6, 2021 and shows the “bono” phenomenon, or a tidal hole, when a strong tide presses against a river current to form a wave.
In the comments of the post, the person who took the video explained that it was filmed on Ogis Beach, in Teluk Meranti, Indonesia.
Using selfie sticks to escape the waves Two similar videos were also presented as the aftermath of the Tonga eruption and the tsunami. A montage of these videos shows two people, a man and a woman, using selfie sticks to film themselves as they flee from the waves and are eventually swept over.
The video, which was widely shared in Spanish on Twitter, was viewed around 300,000 times.
But these two films have also been published before, on December 6 and 7, 2021. They show exactly the same phenomenon: a tidal borehole on the Kampar River in Indonesia.
The two people who filmed were together in the same place, as you can see in the videos.
Two people who were said to be filming the aftermath of the tsunami in Tonga actually filmed a tide hole in Indonesia. © Rina rina bono Channel / Onex TM During natural disasters, it is not uncommon for fake images to circulate on social networks with hashtags corresponding to the event. Sometimes people even try to take advantage of the confusion to gain followers or engagement.
That was the case during Cyclone Shaheen in Oman in October last year. See how we could verify these images below.