False posts claim video game clip shows 'Huthi attack on US aircraft carrier'

A clip from a video game has circulated in social media posts that falsely claimed it showed Yemen's Huthi rebels attacking a US aircraft carrier in the Red Sea. The posts surfaced after the Iran-backed rebels claimed they launched an attack on the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, but Washington has denied any of its ships were damaged by the Huthis. A Czech developer told AFP the video was taken from their Arma 3 game.

"Video of suspected Huthi attack on US aircraft carrier surfaces," read the simplified Chinese caption of a Weibo post shared on June 1, 2024.

The accompanying 26-second clip appeared to show missiles being shot at a ship at sea. A block of simplified Chinese text superimposed over the top-left corner of the video repeated the claim.


The video circulated a day after Huthi rebels claimed that they had launched a missile attack on the USS Eisenhower in the Red Sea on May 31, 2024. Washington has not confirmed the aircraft carrier was targeted.

The Iran-backed Huthis, who control much of Yemen, have carried out scores of drone and missile attacks on vessels in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden since November, citing solidarity with Palestinians over the Israel-Hamas war.

US and British forces have responded with strikes against the rebels, who have since declared American and British interests to be targets as well.

The video has circulated alongside similar false claims elsewhere in Chinese-language posts here and here, as well as in other languages such as Korean, Thai, and Indonesian.

But US defence officials dismissed claims the ship had been damaged or struck, according to US state-owned broadcaster Voice of America (archived link). 

AFP found the footage was in fact taken from a video game.

Video game footage

Keyword and reverse image searches using keyframes from the clip on Google found a corresponding YouTube video titled "2 minutes ago! Hamas Hezbollah fighters sink Israeli aircraft carrier with Iranian anti-ship missile," published on Dec 26, 2023 (archived link).

The description includes a disclaimer that states: "Not real footage, just Arma 3 gameplay... 'This video was created using content of Bohemia Interactive'." 

Below is a screenshot comparison of the video shared in the false posts (left) and the original Arma 3 footage on YouTube (right):

Screenshot comparison of the video shared in the false posts (left) and the original Arma 3 footage on YouTube (right)

The Arma series of games by Czech studio Bohemia Interactive allows users to customise and generate their own content (archived here). 

The company's public relations manager, Pavel Krizka, told AFP on June 20 that the footage in the false posts "was produced in (modded) Arma 3 game, so it's clearly not a real live footage."

The company said in an October 2023 X post it was "disheartening" to see in-game footage being used to spread disinformation about conflicts in the Middle East. 

The post included a statement which included tips on how to distinguish game footage from real-world videos, including by paying attention to very low-resolution clips, shaky camera work and low-lighting (archived link).

AFP debunked other false claims of US ships being sabotaged by Huthi rebels in the Red Sea here, here, and here.

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