Last week Pakistan's Awami Tehreek Secretary General, Khurram Nawaz Gandapur shared incredible footage of an airplane narrowly avoiding an oil tanker that had stopped on the runway. With less than a meter of clearance, the A380 airbus manages to pull up and soar over the stopped vehicle, averting what would have otherwise been a terrible disaster—except Gandapur didn't seem to realize that the video was a stunt pulled off in Grand Theft Auto 5.
"Narrow escape of an aircraft which could have ended in a great disaster," read the now-deleted tweet by Gandapur. "Miraculous save by the pilot’s presence of mind."
Gandapur's tweet quickly amassed a few thousand retweets, but most of the replies were from people mocking him for not realizing that the video was from a game and not real. That's presumably why he deleted it, but you can still see a partial archive of some of the responses here (opens in new tab).
The video in question comes from The UiGamer (opens in new tab), a YouTuber who mostly makes compilation videos of airplane crashes and emergency landings in GTA 5.
Gandapur isn't the only one to mistake The UiGamer's video for real footage, though. On Twitter, an account called 'Physics-astronomy.org' shared the video to its 47,000 followers, claiming the footage was a failed terrorist attack in Algeria.
Terrorist attack in Algeria, which fails to work because of the pilot's immense skill pic.twitter.com/vnHXzjSULkJuly 9, 2019
On the one hand, it's funny to see people fall for what is so obviously a videogame—and a good reminder that you should always double-check before sharing things online so you don't look like a fool. On the other hand, it's also a little scary.
Judging the authenticity of videos and images found online is becoming increasingly more challenging, especially with the rise of deepfakes (opens in new tab). It might seem harmless, but these clips can often be used to push troubling political agendas, like when the Russian military used videos from mobile game AC-130 Gunship Simulator as proof that the US was working with ISIS (opens in new tab), or when a documentary used Arma 2 footage and claimed it was an IRA attack (opens in new tab) on a helicopter.
Thanks, Motherboard (opens in new tab).
Update, 7/11/2019: This story originally included a link of a reporter from France 24 replying to one of the above tweets asking for more details and stated that said journalist was also duped by the video. That turned out not to be the case so we've removed that section entirely. We regret the error.