This video has circulated online about a prank staged in Brazil in 2019

Copyright AFP 2017-2020. All rights reserved.

A video has been viewed hundreds of thousands of times on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube alongside a claim that it shows a drone launching fireworks at people who breached a curfew in Malaysia during a nationwide coronavirus lockdown. The claim is false; the video's audio has been manipulated to include a man speaking in Malaysian; the original clip actually shows a prank that was staged by a Brazilian influencer in Brazil in July 2019. 

The 30-second video was published here on Facebook on March 22, 2020. It has been viewed more than 208,000 times and shared more than 4,300 times since. 

The post's Indonesian-language caption translates to English as: “In Kuala Lumpur those who go outside of their house were shot by fireworks launched by a drone. 

"It seems our Indonesian people have to be bombed by nuclear weapons first to make it works.”

Below is a screenshot of the misleading post:

Screenshot of misleading post

A voice of a man speaking Malaysian can also be heard, saying: "Stay inside the house, don't go out!"  

Malaysia started to impose a partial nationwide lockdown from March 18, 2020, until at least April 14, 2020, shutting almost all businesses and banning its citizens from travelling abroad, in a bid to stem the soaring number of novel coronavirus cases. 

As of March 27, 2020, the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, has  infected 2,161 people and killed 26, according to data recorded by Malaysia’s Ministry of Health.

The video also appeared with a similar claim on Facebook here, here, here and here; on Twitter here, here, and here; and on YouTube here

The claim is false; the original clip actually shows a prank that was staged in Brazil in July 2019 – months before COVID 19 was first detected in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December 2019. 

A Google reverse image followed by subsequent keyword search found the original video was posted here on Instagram by user Lucas Albert on July 14, 2019. 

The video’s Portuguese-language caption translates to English as: “My friends had a barbecue on the street and didn’t invite me, look what I did to them lol Trolled them out of nowhere. Next week there’s ‘guerra dos bruxos???’” 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Meus amigos fizeram um churrasco na rua e não me convidaram olha oq eu fiz com eles kkkkkkkkk aquela trolagem do nada ❤️ semana que vem tem guerra de bruxos 🧙‍♂️ 🤣🤣🤣🤣

A post shared by Lucas Albert (@eulucasalbert) on

“Guerra dos bruxos” refers to a Brazilian fireworks tradition called “Guerra de Espadas.”

Albert’s Instagram video has a different soundtrack that does not feature anyone speaking Malaysian. 

Below is a screenshot comparison of the video in the misleading posts (L) and Albert’s Instagram video (R):

Screenshot comparison of the video in the misleading post (L) and Albert’s Instagram video (R)

The BBC interviewed Albert regarding the video and published it in this report dated July 19, 2019, headlined: “Firework drone 'false news' says Instagram star Lucas Albert”. 

“Mr Albert, who has two million followers on Instagram, told the BBC the video is not real, and explained he planned the stunt with friends.

“‘Many people know me,’ he said, ‘and know that I edit all the videos that I post.’” 

Albert also posted clarification on his Twitter here and Instagram story. 

The Portuguese-language tweet translates to English as: “They took my video trolling my friends, threw it on a sensationalist newspaper website saying that it was a neighbor angry with the noise in Sao Paulo that fired bombs lol Dude, how far can these fake news go?” 

His Instagram story was included in this video by Brazilian newspaper Jornal de Brasilia on July 15, 2019. 

In 2019, AFP debunked the same video with a different claim in English here and in Portuguese here