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Pakistani politician mistakes a GTA 5 stunt video for real life, congratulates pilot

(Image credit: Twitter)

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.

The video in question comes from The UiGamer, 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.

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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. 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, or when a documentary used Arma 2 footage and claimed it was an IRA attack on a helicopter.

Thanks, Motherboard.

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.

Steven Messner

With over 7 years of experience with in-depth feature reporting, Steven's mission is to chronicle the fascinating ways that games intersect our lives. Whether it's colossal in-game wars in an MMO, or long-haul truckers who turn to games to protect them from the loneliness of the open road, Steven tries to unearth PC gaming's greatest untold stories. His love of PC gaming started extremely early. Without money to spend, he spent an entire day watching the progress bar on a 25mb download of the Heroes of Might and Magic 2 demo that he then played for at least a hundred hours. It was a good demo.