World

Earthquake error in Facebook review of 2015

Still from Egypt building collapse Image copyright Facebook
Image caption Video of the collapse of a building in Egypt was widely shared at the time of the Nepal earthquake

Facebook's two-minute-long year in review video features a scene of a crumbling building in its segment on the Nepal earthquake.

But the setting is not actually Nepal, it is in fact Egypt.

The BBC's own team of verifiers noticed the footage doing the rounds on social media at the time of the April quake, but quickly spotted the signs that identified the scene as Egyptian.

It's not the only misidentified imagery to be picked up at the time.

Facebook's year in review uses a mix of video and still pictures to give viewers a visual tour of the big stories of 2015.

The clips include the Pluto flyby, the migration crisis, the shootings in Paris, sporting successes and stories that were big on social media.

Image copyright Na Son Nguyen
Image caption This photo was widely-shared as part of the Nepal quake coverage, but was actually taken in Vietnam in 2007

But a few seconds of video highlighting the devastating earthquake that killed 9,000 people and devastated many communities in Nepal is not all that it might appear.

Omayma el Zulafi, a journalist with the BBC's User Generated Content (UGC) verification hub, spotted the video around the time of the quake and quickly noticed it could not be from Nepal.

"There's a shot [in the full version] showing an Arabic sign and you can see an Egyptian policeman. If you listen carefully you can hear an Egyptian Arabic accent," she said.

The BBC's UGC team says the incident highlights the importance of close verification of images.

It was not the only fake image to appear at the time purporting to be of the earthquake.

A video of waves in a hotel swimming pool also got a lot of attention, but was in fact from Mexico, as BBC Trending found out.

And a widely-shared image of a little boy comforting his sister was also debunked as it emerged the photograph was taken in Vietnam in 2007.

The BBC informed Facebook about the footage in its year in review video and the Egyptian clip has now been removed.

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