Video from 2018 resurfaces as more earthquakes hit Indonesia

Clip shows satellite view of damage wrought by the quake in 2018 that left over 2,000 dead

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Claim: A satellite video shows the destruction wrought by the November 2022 earthquake in West Java, Indonesia.

Fact: The video is, in fact, from the 7.5-magnitude earthquake and tsunami that hit Indonesia on 28 September 2018.

On 30 November 2022, Express News posted a clip on its verified Facebook page showing what it claimed was a “horrifying” satellite footage of the 21 November 2022 5.6-magnitude earthquake that hit Cianjur town in Indonesia’s West Java province — also an island.

The video was captioned as follows:

“انڈونیشیا میں زلزلے کی ایک خوفناک سیٹلائٹ ویڈیو… [A horrifying satellite video of the earthquake in Indonesia…]”

The clip was viewed over 58,000 times as of 3 pm on 1 December 2022, approximately 26 hours after it was posted. Soch Fact Check also received the video on WhatsApp.

It is also important to note that another earthquake struck Java on 3 December 2022.

Fact or Fiction?

Soch Fact Check input screenshots from the video in Express News’ Facebook post in reverse image search tools to figure out if similar images had appeared on the Internet in the past.

Through TinEye Reverse Image Search, we found several links to 2018 news reports, including those by The Washington Post, CNN, NPR, USA Today, Daily Mail, and two stories by The Associated Press (AP) (here and here).

These reports are about the 7.5-magnitude Sulawesi earthquake and tsunami that hit Indonesia on 28 September 2018, killing more than 2,000 people.

The Washington Post reported that the satellite images show “the Petobo neighbourhood of Palu on Aug. 17, before an earthquake, left, and on Oct. 1, after the earthquake and subsequent tsunami”, with the pictures sourced from DigitalGlobe via AP.

CNN said the satellite imagery — obtained from DigitalGlobe — showed entire neighbourhoods “wiped away” in the earthquake and tsunami. The publication provided before and after views with a movable slider for comparison and identified what had happened as “soil liquefaction, [which] caused the ground to boil, the dirt in the village becoming liquid”.

Other publications also reported the same.

We also found the video on AP’s YouTube channel.

In addition, the voiceover in the video starts with a word that sounds like “dah-boo 7”, so we used that alongside the phrase “Indonesia satellite earthquake” to search YouTube and found a video with the same voiceover posted on 8 October 2018 on the DAHBOO777 channel.

Virality

Soch Fact Check conducted a CrowdTangle analysis for the 30-day period from 1 November to 1 December using the following search terms:

  • “Satellite video Indonesian earthquake SCARY entire land mass shifted Unbelievable”
  • “انڈونیشیا میں زلزلے کی ایک خوفناک سیٹلائٹ ویڈیو”

The first search term turned up nine posts with almost 1,000 interactions on Facebook, while the second one showed 712 interactions across just two Facebook posts.

We also found more than 100 posts through Facebook’s organic search, including one from ‘Weather Updates PK’ — a Pakistani page — that got over 17,000 views.

On Twitter, we found at least six tweets with a significant number of views, including here, here, here, here, here, and here. The clip was also uploaded to YouTube here and here.

Conclusion: The video is more than four years old and shows the devastation in the wake of a 7.5-magnitude earthquake and tsunami that hit Indonesia on 28 September 2018.

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