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Israeli raid or atomic bomb? Explosion of fake news in Beirut

2020-08-05T11:04:19.112Z

The disaster that hit Beirut on Tuesday, extensively filmed and relayed on social networks, carried its share of rumors and informa



Tuesday 6:07 p.m., Beirut, Lebanon. After a first explosion in the port of the city, a long column of smoke obscures the sky of the Lebanese capital. In the surrounding towers, on the sea, in the streets of the city, the lenses of the telephone cameras are aimed at the site of the explosion. At that precise moment, a second explosion shook the entire city and was felt for more than 200 km around. An immense flame, then a blast of gas and a mushroom of smoke forms instantly, before a thick red smoke and a cloud of dust cover the districts of the center of the thousand-year-old port city. The videos of this tragedy quickly go around the world. In less time than it takes to say it, we are looking for a manager on social networks. The fake news factory is launched. Even though this Wednesday noon, the precise origin of the disaster is unknown, return to this phenomenon.

From the first moments, the "smoke mushroom" which appeared on screens around the world, allows some to support the thesis of a nuclear bomb launched on Beirut.

I'm not an expert on explosives but damn, that looks like a nuke going off. That mushroom cloud .... #Lebanon # Beirutpic.twitter.com / fheXVz0l9W

- MJVentrice (@MJVentrice) August 4, 2020

Breaking: Israel Nukes Beirut, Russian Embassy Hit, Evidence In (updating) - A general in the Lebanese Army reports that Israel dropped a tactical nuclear weapon on the port of Beirut today. He reports that this was done to collapse the current political regime there and revo ... pic.twitter.com/2RsJwINd5b

- VeteransToday (@veteranstoday) August 4, 2020

The effect of the “Wilson's cloud”, or condensation cloud, is only the result of a shock wave which compresses and rarefies the air according to the humidity level in the air. The absence of a blinding flash of white light here proves that the explosion is by no means nuclear, but between quotation marks the "damage is done" for a specialist in rumors.

"The context then influences the brain"

“These messages are above all speculative messages and the problem is that the media relay them. Both the press and social networks. In a way, they are the first to fuel the rumor by giving it substance, ”explains Pascal Froissart, lecturer at Paris-8 University in information and communication sciences.

“The history of the nuclear attack is understandable, the images that we saw, we who are not fireworks, look like images that we only saw from a nuclear bomb. The context then influences the brain ”analyzes the author of“ La Rumeur ”published by Belin. “Speculation is not inherently bad. What is annoying is to make a thesis of it, and to nourish an ideology for example ”deciphers the academic.

Indeed, rumor, fake news is always based on reality, and sometimes the first to feed it are not always those we imagine. In the context of the explosions in Beirut, the first to have fueled the fantasy machine of an "attack" was the President of the United States himself during a press conference on Tuesday evening.

"It was a kind of bomb"

Donald Trump thus affirmed that American generals had told him that the powerful explosions which rocked Beirut seemed to have been caused by "some bomb". “It looks like a terrible attack,” Donald Trump told White House reporters. “It wasn't some sort of a homemade bomb explosion. It seems to be the case, according to them - they would know better than I - but they seem to think it was an attack. It was kind of a bomb, yes, ”said the tenant of the White House confidently. A fake news quickly contradicted by the Pentagon.

“The attack” very quickly becomes an “Israeli attack” on social networks. Here too the context, as Pascal Froissart explains, favors this thesis. “Speculation on Israel's involvement is perfectly expected given the deplorable context in the region. They bombed Syria on Monday evening ”recalls the lecturer. Result in a few hours nearly 300,000 tweets point the finger at the responsibility of the Israeli state in the spectacular explosion, double the number of tweets relating to the explosions themselves.

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The "fake news" even takes unprecedented forms, the parody account of Robert De Niro, followed by more than 200,000 people thus accredits this thesis on the basis of Donald Trump's declaration! Supporting images, of course. The target is a suspected weapon cache from the Hezbollah terrorist movement.

Israel attack @ #Beirut? pic.twitter.com/12mvcVRusE

- Robert De Niro ᵖᵃʳᵒᵈʸ (@RobertDeNiroUS) August 5, 2020

Israel attack @ #Beirut? pic.twitter.com/12mvcVRusE

- Robert De Niro ᵖᵃʳᵒᵈʸ (@RobertDeNiroUS) August 5, 2020

There follows a litany of tweets and other comments tipping into primary anti-Semitism, even though Hezbollah, through its media networks has denied any Israeli strike against a possible infrastructure of the movement, 16 minutes after the first explosion ... A little later the Israeli government will even offer its logistical assistance to the Lebanese government.

مصادر مطلعة مقربة من حزب الله لل otv: لا صحة لكل ما يتم تداوله عن ضربة اسرائيلية لأسلحة لحزب الله في المرف

- OTV Lebanon (@OTVLebanon) August 4, 2020

"Anti-Semitism feeds on these events"

“Anti-Semitism feeds on these events but is not the cause of these fake news. There is no “revelation” at these times. Anti-Semitism is the fruit of a deep culture which is then expressed more vividly, ”comments Pascal Froissart.

The Israeli Judaist terrorist trail cannot be ruled out. israel regularly bombs Syria and Lebanon in silence, complicit in western governments who have been sending their prayers to the lebanese since this evening. https://t.co/tSxVGwsKam

- Nacera (@NasNacera) August 5, 2020

“The proponents of this ideology put a layer of it back using the technique of 'confusionism'. It is a technique resulting from marketing which mixes the true and the false. This has been used extensively by tobacco and petroleum companies, for example ”as part of a lobbying campaign. “The same principle applies in this burning context,” notes the rumor specialist bitterly. "The observation in this type of event is that you have to take the time to have more information before speculating" recalls Pascal Froissart.

Source: leparis

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