‘Fake’ video of Ukrainians criticising Titan crew debunked

A fake video attributed to Al Jazeera claimed Ukrainians were upset with the Titan submersible crew for ‘wasting money’.

This undated image courtesy of OceanGate Expeditions, shows their Titan submersible being towed to a dive location in Everett, Washington. - Rescue teams expanded their search underwater on June 20, 2023, as they raced against time to find a Titan deep-diving tourist submersible that went missing near the wreck of the Titanic with five people on board and limited oxygen. All communication was lost with the 21-foot (6.5-meter) Titan craft during a descent June 18 to the Titanic, which sits at a depth of crushing pressure more than two miles
The Titan submersible being towed to a dive location in Everett, Washington [File: OceanGate Expeditions via AFP]

Al Jazeera has debunked a fake video that has been circulating on social media. The video, falsely bearing the Qatar-based media network’s logo, reported that Ukrainians were criticising the Titan submersible’s crew for wasting money that could have been donated to support Ukraine.

An Al Jazeera spokesperson told the Reuters news agency that the content of the video clip was “fabricated”.

“The video circulating on social media, claiming to be from Al Jazeera and featuring content that depicts Ukrainian people condemning the passengers of the Titan submarine for lavishly spending money on their expedition is not authentic,” the spokesperson said in an email on Friday.

“We want to clarify that the video does not originate from Al Jazeera, and we assert that the content has been fabricated by a third party.”

Captions in the 94-second clip said Ukrainians were upset with the crew of the Titan submersible for “wasting money”, and that the funds should have gone to them amid Russia’s invasion of their country.

“Ukraine needs help while these people spend fortunes on silly entertainment,” said an unidentified social media user, according to a caption in the video.

The clip was widely shared on Twitter, Facebook and TikTok, garnering tens of thousands of views.

The Reuters Fact Check team concluded that the video was “false”.

“The video is an example of imposter content. It was not published by Al Jazeera.”

The Titan submersible had been missing for days in the Atlantic Ocean with five men on board. On Thursday, the United States Coast Guard said the submersible suffered a “catastrophic loss” that was consistent with the implosion of the vessel.

Each person paid a sum of $250,000 for a chance to see the legendary Titanic wreckage some 13,000 feet (3,962 metres) below the ocean surface.

Among those on board the vessel – owned by the company OceanGate – were UK billionaire Hamish Harding, Pakistani-British businessman Shahzada Dawood and his 19-year-old son Suleman.

This is not the first time a video misidentified as Al Jazeera’s has circulated on social media.

In November, a fake video attributed to Al Jazeera alleged that drunk Ukrainian football fans vandalised World Cup-related posters with Nazi symbols in the capital city Doha.

According to the fake video, three Ukrainians were detained after they painted a “Hitler moustache” on the 2022 World Cup’s mascot La’eeb, and further vandalised the poster with a Nazi salute.

Source: Al Jazeera