On January 31, 2020, Prime Time news agency released an article headlined “Struggle for food – shocking footage from the quarantine zone.” According to the article, Wuhan is facing food shortage that triggers confrontation between people. The article is also accompanied by a video footage, depicting, as Prime Time claims, physical confrontation over food.
The video collage spread by the above-mentioned news portals depicts the footages shot in Nanning, Shanghai and Guangdong at different times, rather than the Wuhan developments. Moreover, the footage depicting a supermarket first went viral in 2018 and it has nothing to do with a coronavirus.
- • The footage depicting the supermarket in the video collage is old and has nothing to do with a coronavirus.
The footage depicting the supermarket in the video collage at 0:06-0:11 seconds has nothing to do with a coronavirus and it can be searched on the Internet since 2018. The video has been uploaded by YouTube users. Among them is a YouTube user, ji-ji, who uploaded the video on May 2, 2018. YouTube users noted in their comments that the video had been shot during a big sale in China.
- The footage used in the video at 0:01-0:06 seconds was shot in the Chinese city of Nanning and it depicts the people queuing up for face masks outside a pharmacy.
The video posted in Chinese social network QQ, which depicts the same footage as the manipulative video collage at 0:01-0:06 seconds, notes that the video was shot at Taoyuan Street in Nanning. This place is about 1300 kilometers away from Wuhan. The video was uploaded on January 30, 2020 and it depicts the people lining up to buy masks rather than people queueing up for food.
The video depicts traffic signs and several multistory buildings the photos of which can be searched through the Chinese search engine Baidu.com. The photos depicted on Baidu map confirm that the streets shown in the video are really located in the city of Nanning.
- The part of the video at 0:12-0:25 seconds shows a pharmacy located in Shanghai.
The video footage shown at 0:12-0:25 seconds was released in Chinese media and Twitter on January 27-28 and it notes that the video was shot outside a pharmacy in Shanghai. This is confirmed by the fact that a Chinese-language poster on the building, reading 上海 (Shanghai in Chinese characters), is seen quite well in the footage.
Another inscription reads 海益丰大药房连锁有限公司台花江路店- Shànghǎi yì fēng dà yàofáng liánsuǒ yǒuxiàn gōngsī tái huājiāng lù diàn and it means that it is one of the pharmacies belonging to the Chinese pharmacy network located at 花江- Huājiāng Street in Shanghai.
Google map does not involve the photos and visual images of the pharmacy located at the above-mentioned address, because Google services are blocked in China and local population has no access to Google map; however, the photos depicting the pharmacy can be searched on the maps of Chinese search engine Baidu.com.
On the left, there is a screengrab from the video and on the right, a photo of the same pharmacy added to the Shanghai map.
Other footages included in the video collage cannot be identified due to their poor quality;however the part of the video collage starting at 0:42 seconds depicts the footage shot in the city of Guangdong rather than Wuhan; the footage was spread on Twitter.
Fake news stories about coronavirus are being spread from time to time that promotes sowing fear in the public. Below are the publications about coronavirus verified by the Myth Detector:
- What Video Fabrications are Spread in Media on Coronavirus and What do Statistics Say?
- Ren TV links Coronavirus to US laboratories
- Banana Conspiracy Timeline: From Ebola to Coronaviruses
Prepared by Mariam Topchishvili
Regional Network of Media Literacy Lab