Russian trolls are the talk of the town once again after a congressional investigation revealed the magnitude their fake social media accounts managed to fool us all.
But what happens when the official account of the Russian ministry of defence tweets a fake picture of a military operation?
This morning, @mod_russia tweeted in Russian, English and Arabic a series of drone combat pictures to accuse the U.S. of cooperation with the so-called Islamic State (ISIS) in Syria.
“The Ministry of Defence shows irrefutable evidence that
#US are actually covering ISIS combat units to recover their combat capabilities, redeploy, and use them to promote American interests in Middle East,” it said in the tweet.
There’s only one problem: one of the still pics is from videogame AC-130 Gunship Simulator.
This is from YouTube’s development preview of the game, from 2015:
And this is the image used by Russia, specific with location and date. The description reads: “The ISIS convoy, coming out of Abu-Kamal near the Syria-Iraq border. (Photo created November 9, 2017)”
The picture went viral on social media Nov. 5 after it was tweeted by @AnuSharmaUdh and debunked by Christiaan Triebert at Bellingcat:
Another drone image tweeted by @mod_russia allegedly shows Isis automobile convoy leaving Abu Kamal for the Syrian-Iraqi border on November 9, 2017:
But as the Conflict Intelligence Team notes on Twitter, the screenshot is actually from a June 2016 Russia Today video from Iraq’s ministry of defence showing the Iraqi Air Force bombing ISIS near Fallujah: