Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Does this viral photo show aftermath of Beirut blast?


A photo of a massive crater has been shared thousands of times in multiple Facebook posts that claim it was taken at the site of an explosion in the Lebanese capital of Beirut in August 2020.

The claim is false; the photo shows the aftermath of an explosion in the Chinese city of Tianjin in August 2015.

The photo was published on Facebook on August 5, 2020. It has been shared more than 2,300 times.

The post caption reads: “Beirut, Lebanon”.

The post was published one day after a massive chemical explosion at the port of Beirut on August 4. The blast killed at least 171 people and injured 6,500 others, AFP reported here on August 13.

Keyword and reverse image searches on Google found the photo was in fact taken by a European Pressphoto Agency (EPA) photographer in the aftermath of an explosion in the Chinese city of Tianjin in August 2015.

The EPA photo, which can be found on the news agency’s website, is captioned in part: “An aerial view of a large hole in the ground in the aftermath of a huge explosion that rocked the port city of Tianjin, China, 15 August 2015. Explosions and a fireball at a chemical warehouse killed at least 85 people in the north-eastern Chinese port city of Tianjin late on 12 August.”

The same photo also appeared in several August 2015 reports about the Tianjin explosion, for example on the website for UK-based weekly magazine The Economist and on the BBC News website.

Below is a screenshot comparison of the photo in the misleading posts (L) and the EPA photo (R):



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