Turkey earthquake video falsely shared as 'filmed in Taiwan'

A video of a building collapsing in Turkey after a huge earthquake in 2023 has recirculated in online posts that falsely claimed it was filmed in Taiwan in April 2024. It was shared after a magnitude 7.4 earthquake hit the self-ruled island, damaging dozens of buildings and prompting tsunami warnings.

"The moment when a building collapsed following an earthquake in Taiwan," an X user wrote in Thai on April 3, 2024.

"The reported victim count has increased to 97, with 4 confirmed fatalities. A significant portion of these deaths, including 3 fatalities, occurred along the Dekalun route, where an additional three people were killed and 40 individuals were injured. This event is being described as the most devastating earthquake in 25 years."

Screenshot of the false post on X, captured on April 4, 2024

The same video was also shared alongside similar false claims in various languages including Thai here and here; English here, Spanish here; and Turkish here.

At least 13 people were killed and more than 1,100 injured by the magnitude 7.4 quake that struck Taiwan on April 3, 2024 (archived link).

Billed as the strongest quake to shake the island in 25 years, authorities in Japan and the Philippines initially issued tsunami alerts before calling off the warnings (archived link).

Although there have been genuine images and videos of the quake's impact in Taiwan, the video in the social media posts shows a separate incident in February 2023 when a devastating earthquake hit Turkey and parts of Syria. 

Turkey quake

A reverse image search on Google using one of the video's keyframes found the same footage published by Reuters on its X and YouTube accounts on February 6, 2023 (archived links here and here).

Reuters' X post read, "Video shows a building collapse after a major earthquake of magnitude 7.8 struck central Turkey and northwest Syria."

Further keyword searches led to a BBC report published on February 6, 2023, featuring the same footage. The report's headline read, "Building collapses in Turkey after deadly earthquake" (archived link).

Parts of the report read: "Footage from the Haliliye district in Sanliurfa, Turkey, shows people running for cover as a multi-storey building collapses, hours after a deadly earthquake hits the region."

Below is a screenshot comparison between the false post (left) and the video shared in the BBC report (right):

Screenshot comparison between the false post (left) and a video shared in a BBC report (right)

Turkey's local news alert also featured an interactive map which shows where the video was taken. The map shows that a social media user pinpointed that it was taken in Sanlıurfa in southeastern Turkey (archived link).

Below is a screenshot comparison between the false post (left) and an interactive map that shows where the video was taken (right):

A screenshot comparison between the false post (left) and an interactive map that shows where the video was taken (right)

On February 6, 2023, a 7.8-magnitude earthquake hit southeastern Turkey near the border with Syria, killing more than 50,000 people (archived link).

The disaster was the strongest quake recorded in Turkey since 1939, exposing the nation's poor construction standards that even newly constructed buildings could not withstand the quakes.

Officials say more than 12,000 buildings in Turkey -- some built six months ago -- were either destroyed or seriously damaged (archived link).

AFP has debunked other misinformation linked to the earthquake that struck Taiwan in April 2024 here and here.

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