Fake Hurricane Dorian video goes viral on Twitter

Whenever there is a major event, news story or a natural disaster like the hurricane Dorian, someone is going to try to take advantage of it to gain followers and reach on social media. Do you remember the fake photo of “Frankenstorm” hurricane Sandy, that looked like it would destroy all of Manhattan? Completely fake of course, but that didn’t stop people from sharing it more than 626,000 times on Facebook. Incredible!


This was back in 2010, and although Facebook’s algorithm has changed and it might be a little harder to get that kind of virality today, we as users probably haven’t become much smarter.

As hurricane Dorian approached the coast of Florida, a Twitter account tweeted a video that appeard to show an enormous hurricane about to hit Miami Beach.

fake hurricane dorian video from miami beach

The tweet has gotten more than 1.7 million views, 35,000 retweets and 76,000 likes in one day, despite the fact that it is obviously fake. It looks fake and it is very easy to fact check, especially if you know that hurricanes originating in the northern hemisphere rotate counterclockwise. In the fake video, the hurricane spins clockwise.

Also, many of the replies to the tweet point out that it is not true and even link to sources that debunk the claim of the tweet.

The same video has also been shared several times on Instagram, but has since been taken down.

The computer animated video was first posted to Instagram in May 2019, several months before hurricane Dorian started to emerge. You can see the video here:


Visa det här inlägget på Instagram


Ett inlägg delat av ♏TheGlitch♏ (@theglitch.og)


Why do we share fake news on social media?

So why do we keep sharing stories that are so blatantly false? There are probably many reasons why this happens. Research into why people share fake news show that “Individuals tend not to question the credibility of information unless it violates their preconceptions or they are incentivized to do so”.  There is also a tendency to view unique content as “too good not to share”.

In other words, there is no incentive to fact check something that looks so cool. Some may not even care.

There are many ways you can fact check social media posts, by googling and checking hashtags. You can take a screen shot and do a reverse image search on Google, that often reveals that the footage is older than what it appears to be. And as always, if it looks too good too be true, it probably is fake.


Cinemagram – an Instagram for animated images

Popular photo app Instagram does many things really well, but one thing it does not handle is the ability to upload and share videos. Enter Cinemagram, a social networking app for sharing short videos that are actually made into animated GIFs. It includes Instagram-like features such as the ability to add filters to your videos, but the twist with Cinemagram is that each video can be edited so that only a portion of the frame is animated and the rest is in form of a still shot. The effects can be hilarious.

The app is fairly new and was initially $1.99 in Appstore, but it is currently free. It is too soon to tell if this app will become successful, but one thing I noticed immediately is that creative uploads have the possibility to get a lot of attention. I had only just downloaded the app and had almost no followers, still my third video has got almost 500 likes during the first 24 hours since upload. You can see it below. The quality is quite poor but it looks a lot better on the iPhone.

60 m

Created with cinemagr.am

One of the reasons that content may “go viral” within the app is that each time you “like” a video, it is re-posted by you in the app, sort of like a retweet on Twitter, so the content gets a lot of exposure. On top of that the videos with the most likes are displayed in one of the tabs in the app.

Cinemagram doesn’t have a very good web presence, but if you manage to find your profile page and/or the page of one of your animated images, you can find the embed code so that you can paste it easily to your blog for example. The page for the image above is: http://cinemagr.am/showSingle/3502979 and my “profile page” is here: http://cinemagr.am/web/user/827705

Check out and download Cinemagram here.

Visit Denmark pulls fake YouTube video

There has been some buzz the last few days about a video titled “Danish woman seeking”, posted on YouTube featuring a woman holding her small child. In the video, the woman called Karen claims she had a one-night stand 18 months ago with a man which led to the birth of her son. She is now looking for the father and along the way in the video, she keeps mentioning how great Denmark is. The video has been viewed more than 800,000 times and generated more than 3,500 comments.


Karen also has a website with photo albums and guestbooks where visitors have commented for example that they have shared her story on their blogs.

But the whole thing is fake from start to finish and is a campaign by the tourism board Visit Denmark. At least until yesterday, Visit Denmark found the campaign to be a success.

– We have increased the knowledge of Denmark as a travel destination and communicated that this is an open and free society. We wanted to place Denmark on the world map and this is a good story, says Dorte Kiilerich, Director at Visit Denmark.

Naturally, I could not agree less. Deceiving people is no better in social media than anywhere else. And as expected, the video has caused a lot of controversy in Denmark where for example the Danish Women’s Association even says the video encourages prostitution.

– We promote Denmark as a free place with space. We are happy that so many people around the world have chosen to see that. We know that there are true and false stories on YouTube, and it is that message we play with when we tell this positive, sweet and rather harmless story, Dorte Kiilerich continues.

I’m amazed that the fact that there are fake stories on YouTube is taken as an excuse to come up with yet another untrue story. So it is great to see that the video has now been taken down from YouTube. The fake website is also deleted. But the spoofs remain, thank God. Check out this “reply” video called “Swedish father seeking”.

Updated: The real video found via Kristofer.

Update 2: Visit Denmark has pulled this video too. It’s odd that they are now so eager to delete a video they recently found to be such a good idea.

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Swedish baby among most popular YouTube videos of all time

The most popular YouTube video of all time has been viewed more than 103 million times. It’s got almost 302,000 comments and 267,000 ratings (average rating 4.5 out of 5). Those are amazing numbers especially considering that the video has embedding disabled, so the file can’t easily spread across the web like most other YouTube videos. The video is the hit song Girfriend by Canadian pop princess Avril Lavigne and it was uploaded on February 27, 2007.

ReadWriteWeb writes that among the 10 most popular YouTube videos ever, 6 are music videos by professional musicians, 2 are comedy (professional comedians), 1 is a Spanish love story, and 1 is a Swedish amateur video with the baby William who just can’t stop laughing. That video has to date been viewed 62 million times and has 84,000 comments (average rating 5 out of 5).


Top 10 (million views):

1. Avril Lavigne – Girlfriend (103m)
2. Evolution of Dance (100m)
3. Lo que tú Quieras Oír (76m)
4. Leona Lewis – Bleeding Love (70m)
5. Rihanna – Don’t Stop The Music (n/a, video not available in Sweden so no link love for you)
6. Chris Brown – With You (70m)
7. Timbaland – Apologize (feat. One Republic) (68m)
8. Jeff Dunham – Achmed the Dead Terrorist (66m)
9. Alicia Keys – No One (65m)
10. Hahaha (Swedish baby) (62m)

Update: Apparently Avril Lavigne fans have inflated the number of views of the Girlfriend video by gaming the system. Wired has the details.

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Eniro buys Swedish video community

Dagens Media yesterday revealed that Eniro, a leading Nordic search company, has bought 48.1% of the shares in Netclips AB, which owns the video community Bubblare.se.

Bubblare started on September 1, 2006 and was one of the first sites in Sweden with user-generated video content. Since then several other video sites have been launched by Aftonbladet, ZTV and TV4’s FejmTV. As a result of the increased competition and costs, Bubblare was probably in need of more capital to expand.

Eniro has an option to acquire the remaining 51.9 percent.

UPDATED: Dagens Industri reports that Eniro pays 1 million euro for the minority stake.

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