Fact Check: Not Morocco earthquake – these videos of destroyed buildings are old

by The Technical Blogs


Days after the devastating September 8 earthquake in Morocco’s Marrakesh-Safi region, photos and videos of its effects are still being widely shared on social media. Not all these videos, however, are related to the massive quake that has killed more than 2,400 people.

One such video showed a multi-story building crumbling to the ground. The other featured a person standing atop a broken structure, seemingly singing prayers. The archived versions of these posts can be found here and here.

India Today found that both videos predate the recent earthquake in Morocco.

The apartment crumbling to the ground

A reverse search of keyframes from the viral video led us to an Instagram post dated February 12, 2023, featuring the video in question. This means that this incident took place around seven months ago, and thus, could not show the present condition of Morocco.

The caption in Turkish stated that the video showed an apartment collapsing in Cukurova, a district in the Adana Province in Turkey.

Using keyword search, we then found several media reports about this incident. Back in February, a series of earthquakes claimed more than 50,000 lives across Turkey and Syria.

We then found a report containing screenshots of the viral video. According to it, the Kubilay Apartment in Adana’s Cukurova district in Turkey was demolished in a controlled manner after it was destroyed by the earthquakes. At the time, many captured the moment when the building collapsed on their mobile phones.

Person praying atop broken structure

In one of the tweets containing the viral video, a person quote tweeted the video in question, stating that the same clip was shared back in 2017. The quote tweet, dated July 16, 2017, carried an extended version of the viral video.

The caption in Arabic stated that the video showed a person calling to prayer on the ruins of a mosque in Mosul, a city in Iraq.

Further, we found that several people shared this video on social media back in 2017, including an Iraqi Radio station called “Radio Alghad”. However, some people shared the same video claiming that this scene unfolded in a broken mosque in war-torn Syria. While we could not independently verify the location of this video, it is evident that the incident is at least six years old.

Thus, it is clear that both videos of destruction had nothing to do with the ongoing situation in Morocco.

(Written by Sanjana Saxena)

Edited By:

Sudeep Lavania

Published On:

Sep 13, 2023


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