When Old Videos Resurface: The Curious Tale Of A 2005 Hezbollah Operation
Online videos may be today’s most efficient information vector. They are the closest thing to a real-life event happening in front of your eyes, as opposed to pictures, texts, or even a combination of both. Nevertheless, the emergence of maliciously altered videos and deepfakes puts us at risk of being dangerously misinformed. To counter this, sound forensic methods supported by specifically designed signal processing tools and artificial intelligence are being used to detect most falsifications.
Yet often, misinformation conducted via video does not rely on a technical alteration but rather on false claims that accompany the footage. This could be achieved through a misleading title, a falsely alleged geographical location, or through anachronism, which consists in attributing filmed events to a false period. Anachronism can also include the resurfacing of older videos that not only add to the spread of fake news but affect open source research.
The following investigation shows how an unaltered video, which depicted a real event that happened at an originally correctly claimed date, confused the audience and online investigators by re-surfacing under a different title during a significantly more susceptible political context.
I randomly came across this video on Facebook, after it was published by Zrarieh (الزرارية), a pro-Hezbollah page, on August 15, 2018 at 09:57 GMT, sparking my curiosity about the report’s accuracy.
This was the title : “For the first time… Hezbollah shares live scenes of a military operation against Israel inside the occupied lands.” (“لأول مرة… “حزب الله” يعرض مشاهد حية لعملية عسكرية ضد إسرائيل داخل الأراضي المحتلة”)
The video received substantial engagement, registering 26,000 reactions (such as Like and Love) and 6,300 comments, including intense debates as to whether Hezbollah is capable of infiltrating Israel and conducting a military operation on foot, or whether the events happened somewhere else, …read more