Photo by Physicians for Human Rights - Israel (CC BY 2.0)

Social media rumors rife amid ongoing Gaza conflict

As the conflict in Gaza continues into its thirteenth day, and amid rising casualties (at least 429 Palestinians and 18 Israelis have been killed thus far), we're investigating some of the images circulating on social media to try to ascertain a clearer picture of what's real and what's fake.

If you have a link to a tweet, video or photo that you want to investigate, or help us investigate, then create an account and submit a report.

Viral image claims to show brutal IDF warning SMS

The first image below - shared widely on Facebook and Twitter - is a screengrab from a dramatization found on the Raya FM Facebook page. The second image below is from an Instagram post in 2012 - we've added it here to show an authentic IDF warning SMS.

False by Meedan
Tom changed status to false
Tom

Twitter user @7__r has done some digging and turned up this video clip from the Raya FM Facebook page. The clip is clearly a dramatization, and this image is clearly a screengrab. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=855637941113001&fref=nf More work could uncover if this is the original video, but for now we can mark this image as "false".

Tom

One Twitter user posted a link to this image, which is in Arabic and reads: "The next stage is approaching. Get away from Hamas elements" - this seems a more likely language and message from the IDF (unclear when this image is from) http://972mag.com/idf-sends-text-message-to-gaza-mobile-phones-the-next-...

Tom

Fielded this image to Twitter - lots of red flags raised: 1) Why is the message in English and not Arabic or Hebrew? 2) Why is "Israel Army" saved as a contact? 3) This doesn't seem to be in line with other similar IDF messages.

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Tom

Other photos uploaded to @RanaGaza's Instagram account suggest she was in Gaza in November 2012, when "Operation Pillar of Defense" saw IDF strike Gaza over a sustained period of eight days. Tentatively marking this as verified: It passes the common sense check, +972 is a reputable media outlet, and there are no red flags from reverse image search etc.

Tom

This photo (original here: http://instagram.com/p/SGM62wNABX/) is apparently a photograph from Twitter user @RanaGaza of her father's phone, taken in 2012. The Arabic reads "The next phase is on the way. Stay away from Hamas elements."

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Featured image by Sailing Nomad (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).

Social media claims of bomb aboard KLM plane at Cairo airport

There have been initial reports emerging via social media that a KLM flight en route to Kenya (origin unknown) is being inspected for possible bomb equipment. These reports have yet to be verified - we're investigating and will add reports as they come in.

UPDATE: KLM report via Twitter that a plane headed for Kenya was grounded in Cairo as an unidentified object was inspected, but that it was a false alarm after all passengers were disembarked safely from the aircraft.

KLM via Twitter: False Alarm

KLM's verified Twitter account announces that the plane was grounded as a precaution and all passengers were disembarked safely.

Bomb threat?

In addition to Pascal Boeckx tweets apparently showing a plane grounded at Cairo airport, there have been separate claims that the grounded plane is on alert due to a possible bomb threat. As yet, these reports have not been verified and the official reason for the grounded plane has not been given by authorities..

Bomb alert on #KLM flight en route to Nairobi. Plane will land in #Cairo to evacuate everyone.

— Cleo (@cleopatrina_) October 20, 2014
Verified by Meedan
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KLM have responded to the user reporting that the plane was grounded as a precaution, noted in an update to come. Marking as verified - the plane WAS grounded in Cairo following a bomb alert, even though no bomb was found.

Tom

Unclear what the source of this report is, and whether this Twitter user was on board the plane. Next step is to contact this source.

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From a pilot friend:Bomb on board KLM flight in cairo airport Plane took to a remote area and trying to deactivate it pic.twitter.com/Q3t56FhsZX

— أدهم مصطفى (@Adham_Mostafa) October 20, 2014
False by Meedan
Tom changed status to false
Tom

This photo appears legitimate, but the tweet claims that staff were working to deactivate a bomb that was on board the plane - this is false according to KLM.

Tom

This photo shows a KLM plane grounded in what is presumably Cairo airport. It may be possible to verify that this is the plane also photographed by Pascal below - there is a red truck proximate to the vehicle that may be the same truck in Pascal's photo.

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First reports emerge of KLM plane grounded in Cairo

The first report of a KLM plane grounded in Cairo seems to have come via Twitter user Pascal Boeckx earlier today.

Operational stop in Cairo with KLM on the way to Kilimanjaro. No clue yet. pic.twitter.com/tenRzrhWi7

— Pascal Boeckx (@pascalboeckx) October 20, 2014
Verified by Meedan
Tom

This is verified based on Pascal's previous tweets and KLM's confirmation that a plane was grounded in Cairo.

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The next step is to try to contact Pascal to verify that he is in Cairo.

Tom

We can see from Pascal's previous tweets that he was setting off for Kenya - this is corroborated in this tweet. We can also clearly see the Cairo Airport Company text on the side of the red vehicle to the left of the shot (in English and Arabic).

From the tweet immediately before this, we can see that Pascal is en route to Kenya, likely from Belgium (judging from the link that is in his Twitter profile and the language of the magazine photo he posted. It is unclear if Beligum was the origin of the KLM flight; more likely it was flying from KLM hub Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

Verification Exercise: Geolocating Water Cannon Man

In this story, we're going to geolocate the infamous video of an Egyptian protestor holding his ground in the face of a water cannon. The location of this video is recognizable to many Cairenes, but in this piece we're going to try to use freely available tools to try to piece together the exact time and place of the incident.

Time & Place verified

Verified by Meedan
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The tweet below was posted at 4.02pm - so this video is perhaps taken at around that time, or maybe earlier as the tweet suggests the street had been cleared (which in the video we can see is not the case).

Tom

In the video at the start we see a sign that has one brown sign below two blue signs, this is also clearly visible in this photo of Qasr al-Aini street in Cairo: http://www.panoramio.com/photo/66709390?source=wapi&referrer=kh.google.com The trees on the left hand side of the frame at 0:08 are also visible in the photo, and you can just about make out the second word on the brown sign (designated for touristic sites) as "Al-Masry" - we can speculate that this refers to "Al-Mathaf Al-Masry" (The Egyptian Museum) which is close by to Qasr al-Aini and in the direction suggested by the sign.

Tom

Here's a tweet also reporting water cannons on Qasr al-Aini: https://twitter.com/mado_1/status/29902036183023616

In Progress
Tom

Note the identical colors and arrow direction, confirming the location at this junction in Qasr al-Aini.

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Having researched the shadow angle and location, we can tell the time of the incident to be between 14:15 - 14:45.

#Yemen Photos:: Reverse Image Search to Debunk

When there's a news story breaking on Twitter, beware the first images you see floating around on Twitter - though some could be real, there's a good chance they could also be old and re-purposed photos. A quick way to spot these fakes is using reverse image search (https://www.google.com/img). Reverse image search let's you see where else on the web a given image (or similar images) are displayed. Often these are other tweets, Facebook pages or news stories that may prove that the image you just retweeted showing breaking news were actually taken months ago, half way around the world.

In this story, we'll look at some of the first images to emerge from the ongoing Saudi-led strikes on Yemen.

Cover image by Rod Waddington (CC BY-SA 2.0)

More debunks

False by Meedan
Tom

Reverse image search on this image shows it originally appeared earlier in 2015, linked to attacks against Egyptian military positions in Sinai - so not related to the current strikes in Yemen. Here's a link to an Egyptian press report (there were numerous other versions of this image that appeared around that time on social and regional media): http://www.dostor.org/762113

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False by Meedan
Tom

Reverse image search here shows this image to possibly have originated from 2014 in Gaza - the sources here aren't very authoritative, but we can see that the image existed online before March 2015, so we can say that this isn't from the current strikes on Yemen: http://defense-arab.com/vb/threads/76439/page-25

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Air strikes in #Yemen by Saudi Arabia. Picture in The capital Sanaa. pic.twitter.com/bTwROJebGW

— Yemen Post Newspaper (@YemenPostNews) March 26, 2015
False by Meedan
Tom changed status to false
Tom

A quick reverse image search brings up this article from March 22, 2015, reportedly showing protests in the Yemeni city of Taiz: http://voice-yemen.com/news89627.html

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That's how Sanaa's sky looks like tonight #Yemen pic.twitter.com/kWw32nCjDv

— Abdo Elfgeeh (@abdoys36) March 26, 2015
False by Meedan
Tom

This is a little harder - reverse image search brings up this tweet reportedly from Gaza in July 2014: https://twitter.com/iFalasteen/status/490570093688918016 Based on the fact that the flare patterns exactly match, and that there aren't any reports of flares being used by the Saudi forces bombing Sana'a, I'd say this is false. There has also clearly been some manipulation, to remove the buildings seen in the foreground. I'll try to do an image mashup to highlight this.

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Mississippi braces for tornado

A severe storm warning is in place across Mississippi today - we'll bring live updates here on Meedan Checkdesk.

Tornado photos emerge on Twitter, official warning in place

Sometimes tornadoes almost form on your head in Mississippi pic.twitter.com/dfNuPI1NRV

— Kyle Cate (@Kyle_Cate) June 9, 2014
Verified by Meedan
Tom changed status to verified
Tom

Again, no red flags from reverse image search and Kyle's Twitter bio and history check out - looks like he's also a student at Ole Miss (which is in Oxford, Mississippi, which also checks out). Great shot! Maybe Brad and Kyle should team up as storm shooters.

Tom

Another foreboding photo - also going to check out the source and run some reverse image searches.

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Big storm cell blowing into Oxford pic.twitter.com/74tF45ynSZ

— Brad Lanier (@bblanier) June 9, 2014
Verified by Meedan
Tom changed status to verified
Tom

This Brad Lanier looks to be the same chap in the Twitter bio - so it seems feasible that he is where he claims: https://www.facebook.com/brad.lanier.5 Also there were no red flags from the reverse image search. Corroborating photos mean that this looks like the real deal - and what an amazing shot!

Tom

The replies to this photo show that it's been picked up by some channels - including FOX. I'm going to do some digging, starting with a reverse image search and osme investigation on the source.

Tom changed status to in progress
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Verification Session at ARIJ 2014 with Craig Silverman and Eliot Higgins - Test Case Checkdesk

Working on Checkdesk using a contested story on detainment of wife and son of ISIS leader al-Baghdadi.

Guardian source says detained woman not Isis leader's wife

The Telegraph makes claims that al Baghdadi's wife and son detained in Lebanon

ed

Also, the Telegraph reporter states: "She had crossed into Lebanon from Syria. She and her son were traveling on fake passports,” the source said."

ed

from the Telegraph: "Citing security officials, the Lebanese As-Safir newspaper said the child’s DNA had been tested and showed the leader of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant jihadist group is his father."

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Aide to Erdoğan pictured kicking protester in Soma following Turkey mine disaster

Alarming images have surfaced online appearing to show an aide to Turkish prime minister Tayyeb Reccip Erdoğan kicking a protester in Soma amid a stormy visit from the PM to the scene of Turkey's worst ever mining disaster, which left 282 dead last week.

Aide given sick leave?

Turkish PM's aide Yusef Yerkel 'given sick leave' for injuring his leg after kicking protester - http://t.co/sOwnys1iVD

— Reddit World News (@WorldNewsReddit) May 21, 2014
In Progress
admin changed status to verified
Tom

This seems to be based on a Hurriyet Daily news report - it's quoted in detail here, but it's curious that this is the only English language version, and that the Independent are hedging their bets by saying "alleged". Keen to know more about how Hurriyet acquired the source material - it feels "too good to be true".

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Who is the man that was kicked by Yerkel?

We'd love to hear more about this underreported aspect of this story - please send more info our way if you have it! I suspect it may have been covered more in the Turkish media than English language media, but surely we need to hear from the man attacked by Yerkel.

SOAS distance themselves from Yerkel after kick uproar

With much of the UK media reporting that Yerkel was formerly a PhD student at SOAS, the university has moved to distance themselves form any association with the kicking aide.

Meanwhile, here's another photo - from another angle - of the kick.

It's still unclear who it was on the recieving end of the kick, or what they said to Yerkel to merit such treatment...

Yerkal kick image goes viral - can it be verified?

The man doing the kicking is Erdogan's advisor. The man on the ground lost a relative in Soma http://t.co/76m9UIKvyW pic.twitter.com/jkBYXnAPOE

— the Lemniscat (@theLemniscat) May 15, 2014
Twitter / the Lemniscat: The man doing the ki... the Lemniscat added by Tom
Verified by Meedan
Tom changed status to verified
Tom

Given the weight of reporting in world media, the number of photos and videos from different angles, and an "apology" from the perpetrator, we can say this is "verified", though questions certainly remain as to the identity of the man being kicked.

Tom

This AP report quotes Turkish media featuring a quasi-apology from Yerkel: ""I am sorry that I was not able to keep calm despite all the provocations, insults and attacks that I was subjected to," he said.

Tom

There's video footage from another angle here: http://www.milliyet.tv/video-izle/Basbakanlik-musaviri-Yusuf-Yerkel-vata...

Tom

The man doing the kicking is widely being reported to be Yusef Yerkel, an advisor to Erdogan. This Guardian report has a photo of him alongside Erdogan in Soma (either pre or post- kicking) and it certainly appears to be the same man (face, clothes etc.): http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/may/15/turkey-mine-disaster-aid-pm...

Media for Social Change Unconference

Researchers, students, activists, techies gather in Birmingham for M4SC Unconference

At the "Media for Social Change Unconference" w the talented @Meedan team! I'll be joining a panel of inspiring pple to discuss MENA ##M4SC

— Raja Althaibani (@RajaAlthaibani) May 3, 2014
Verified by Meedan
Tom

Great event!

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Raja has confirmed in person here at BCU that she is credible.

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However, the notion that hte Meedan team is talented is disputed

ed

I believe Raja to be a highly credible source - she has more than 5000 followers and has tweeted more than 6000 times https://twitter.com/RajaAlthaibani