'Discount at a Lidl in Belgium': The fake video drumming up racism online
A tweet posted on October 16 says that a video of a crowd of people shouting in Arabic and jostling each other to get into a supermarket was taken in Molenbeek, a neighbourhood in Brussels, Belgium. The video spurred a series of hateful, xenophobic replies. However, the video was actually taken in Algeria and shows a rush in a supermarket due to nationwide food shortages
How we debunked it
“Belgium. Discount day at Lidl in Molenbeek,” the tweet states innocently. The racist replies began almost immediately. The people in the video, speaking Arabic, are assumed to be immigrants in a European country. One person replied to the tweet, saying, “They have no manners. They behave like they would in their home country.” A number of Twitter users call the people in the video “savages”, while one comment suggests putting the product they’re trying to buy “on the other side of the Mediterranean and then we close the borders!”
The tweet has been archived here.
The video was filmed in Algeria and has nothing to do with immigration
A reverse image search with InVID WeVerify (here's how you use it) helps us find the original video, which was taken in the Algerian town of Sétif.
The same video also appears in a news bulletin on the Moroccan TV channel Medi TV, published on March 23 2021 on YouTube.
If we compare the photos of the UNO supermarket at this location that we find on Google Maps with the video, we can see several similarities such as the same posters, aisle numbers and general layout.
The reason these people were so desperate to buy cooking oil is because of a nationwide food shortage in Algeria in March and April this year. It was partly due to a conflict between producers and retailers, and was exacerbated by the pandemic and the resulting disruption to supply chains, as well as by the start of Ramadan.
This isn’t the first time that a random video has been used as a racist dog whistle. Don’t believe everything you read and learn to debunk online photos and videos yourself before sharing them!
>> Read more on The Observers: How a video from Ireland was used as anti-migrant propaganda in France