Old clip from Japan falsely shared as 'footage of earthquake in Turkey and Syria'

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An old dashcam video of a shaking highway has been viewed hundreds of thousands of times posts that falsely claim it shows the devastating earthquake in Turkey and neighbouring Syria in February 2023. But the video clip was actually filmed in the Japanese capital of Tokyo and was previously shared in a YouTube post about the massive earthquake that rocked the country in 2011.

"The devastating earthquake in Turkey-Syria," reads the Bengali-language caption to the clip shared here on Facebook on February 7, 2023. It has been viewed more than 530 times.

The footage -- filmed from inside a vehicle -- shows a highway visibly swaying from an earthquake.

On February 13, officials and medics said 31,643 people had died in Turkey and 3,581 in Syria from the 7.8-magnitude tremor, bringing the confirmed total to 35,224.

The United Nations said the number was set to rise far higher as chances of finding survivors faded with every passing day.

The earthquake has spurred a wave of online misinformation, the most viral of which has been debunked by AFP here, here, here and here.

Screenshot of the false Facebook post

The dashcam clip was also shared by Facebook users from Bangladesh here and here; and India here alongside a similar false claim. It was also viewed hundreds of thousands of times here in a similar Arabic-language post.

The clip, however, is old and was actually filmed in Japan.

A reverse image search on Google using video keyframes found a clip posted on YouTube on February 19, 2019.

Its Japanese-language caption translates as: "Metropolitan Expressway Route 6 at the time of the 3.11 earthquake Part 3."

The text at the bottom of the clip indicates it was taken on March 11, 2011.

A 9.0-magnitude earthquake struck Japan that day, unleashing a towering tsunami that levelled communities along the country's northeastern coast.

The quake, one of the deadliest of the century, left around 18,500 people dead or missing as the terrifying wall of water swallowed up everything in its path.

The ensuing nuclear meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant blanketed nearby areas with radiation, rendering some towns uninhabitable for years and displacing tens of thousands of residents.

Below is a screenshot comparison of the clip in the misleading post (left) and the YouTube video (right):

A screenshot comparison of the clip in the false post (left) and the 2011 YouTube video (right)

At the bottom of the YouTube video, it displays coordinates that correspond with where the footage was filmed.

A search for the coordinates on Google Maps found the corresponding highway where the video was taken in Tokyo:

Below is a screenshot comparison of the clip (left) and its corresponding Google street image (right) with similar features highlighted:

A screenshot comparison of the clip (left) and its corresponding Google street image (right) with similar features highlighted