Truth or Fake

Cyclone Shaheen in Oman: Which of these amateur videos is real?

Cyclone Shaheen in Oman: which of these amateur videos is real?
Cyclone Shaheen in Oman: which of these amateur videos is real? © Observers

For many people, one of their first instincts in an extreme weather event is to snap a photo or start filming on their phones. People have been sharing dramatic amateur videos of the damage caused by Cyclone Shaheen in Oman – but not all of these videos are actually related to the cyclone. In this week’s episode of Truth or Fake, we take two amateur videos and show you how we found out whether they were real or fake.  

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Tropical Cyclone Shaheen made landfall in Oman and Iran in early October, damaging infrastructure and causing flash flooding. At least 14 people were killed. 

When there’s a natural disaster, like extreme flooding in China or a volcanic eruption in New Zealand, many people want to record the event and then post it on social media. But there are a lot of old or unrelated videos that get reposted time and again. Some people deliberately post old videos in order to get clicks and retweets, whereas others simply unknowingly re-share misinformation.  

When Cyclone Shaheen battered the coastline of Oman on October 3, the Truth or Fake team saw a number of videos on Facebook and Twitter showing the damage the cyclone had caused. We decided to use two of these videos as examples and take you through our verification process. Watch the video to see how we found out whether they were really taken in Oman or whether they were taken after Cyclone Shaheen had passed over the country.