Compilation of old disaster clips unrelated to recent earthquake in Taiwan on April 22, 2024

Two weeks after a massive deadly earthquake, Taiwan was rocked by more quakes on the night of April 22, 2024, causing buildings to sway and some to collapse. A viral video posted on Facebook claims to show the most recent of these recent seismic events. However, this is misleading: the footage is a compilation of several older clips from earthquakes in Japan and Taiwan, as well as demolition works in China.

One post, published on April 22, 2024, has since been shared more than 40,000 times. 

The text accompanying the video reads: “Taiwan in the news...”, while a text overlay in the footage says: “Pray for Taiwan. Disaster earthquake today.”

Screenshot of the misleading post, taken on April 25, 2024

The post contains 64 seconds of footage showing different incidents of earthquakes and buildings collapsing.  

The same claim was also shared here

Taiwan earthquakes 

Taiwan was shaken by a deadly 7.4 magnitude earthquake on April 3, 2024, which the government said was the "strongest in 25 years". It caused landslides that blocked roads and severely damaged buildings in badly-hit Hualien county, on the east coast of Taiwan (archived here).

On April 22-23, 2024, Taiwan was again rocked by several earthquakes that the government said were aftershocks from the initial quake (archived here). Two of the strongest of these measured 6.1 and 6.0 in magnitude, according to the US Geological Survey, and caused some buildings to sway and others to topple.

However, AFP Fact Check established that the footage is a compilation of six different old clips unrelated to the aftershock earthquakes in Taiwan on April 22. 

Old clips  

AFP Fact Check used the video verification tool InVID-WeVerify to conduct reverse image searches on keyframes from the video.

Search results for the first clip reveal that it indeed shows an earthquake in Taiwan, but not the aftershocks on April 22. It was filmed during the initial major quake that hit Hualien county on April 3, 2024. 

The clip was published (archived here) on April 3 by “CGTN Frontline”, a Facebook account affiliated with Chinese state-owned broadcaster CGTN. 

Screenshots of the post by CGTN Frontline (left) and the misleading post (right), taken on April 25, 2024 

The second clip has been shared online in connection to an earthquake in Japan that occurred on January 1, 2024.  

The clip was published on YouTube in late January 2024 here and here.  

Screenshots of the footage published on YouTube in January 2024 (left) and the misleading post (right) taken on April 26, 2024 

At the time, the footage was also published by Indian media and captioned: “Footage of recent earthquake in Japan…”. 

The earthquake that struck part of central Japan on January 1, 2024, left at least 200 people dead (archived here). 

The third clip shows demolition works carried out in China in 2018. 

A longer version of the clip was originally published by The Paper, a Chinese state-affiliated news site (archived here). 

According to the report, the footage shows four skyscrapers undergoing a controlled demolition in Yantai, in China's Shandong province. 

Screenshots of from the Chinese site The Paper (left) and the misleading post, taken on April 25, 2024

The fourth clip also shows a controlled demolition, this time in Lingao county in China’s Hainan province in 2020. 

The clip was published in November 2020  on the Chinese social media platform Meipian, by an account that regularly publishes government official statements, along with other clips showing the demolition works from different angles (archived here).

Screenshots of footage as seen on Meipian (left) and the misleading post, taken on April 25, 2024

Chinese media outlets also reported on the demolition here and here (archived here and here).

The fifth clip again shows skyscrapers being demolished in China, this time in 2021. 

A longer version of the clip was published by the American news organisation USA Today on August 31, 2021 (archived here). 

The clip is captioned as “15 buildings in China get demolished simultaneously”. 

Screenshots of USA Today (left) and the misleading post, taken on April 25, 2024 

According to Chinese state media Global Times, 15 buildings were demolished (archived here) in Kunming, the capital of southwest China's Yunnan province, on August 27, 2021. They were originally constructed for residential purposes and were unfinished. 

AFP Fact Check had previously debunked the fourth and the fifth clips here

The sixth clip shows a restaurant shaking during an earthquake in Taiwan in 2022. 

The footage was originally published by the YouTube channel of Formosa TV News (FTV), a digital television network in Taiwan (archived here). 

The translation of text accompanying the clip indicates it was filmed during an earthquake on September 18, 2022. 

“The earthquake yesterday afternoon (18th) violently shook the crystal chandelier at a hotel in Kaohsiung. Just as customers were fleeing for their lives, a female staff member calmly asked everyone to stand on one side,” the text reads. 

Screenshot of FTV (left) and the misleading post, taken on April 25, 2024 

That day, a strong earthquake hit southeastern Taiwan, causing buildings to collapse (archived here).

AFP Fact Check has previously debunked multiple claims about earthquakes in different countries, such as here and here.  

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