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Sudan crisis: Don't fall for these misleading images and claims on social media

Disinformation has been circulating on social media causing confusion
Disinformation has been circulating on social media causing confusion Copyright Marwan Ali/Copyright 2023 The AP
Copyright Marwan Ali/Copyright 2023 The AP
By Euronews with AFP
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A hotel that's been bombed and a bridge on fire - but these viral images on social media are not what they seem to be.

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As deadly clashes erupt in Sudan and the scramble to evacuate civilians continues, unrelated or misleading images have been circulating on social media creating panic and confusion.

Two pictures in particular have been shared a lot on Twitter and have been attributed to the current fighting in Sudan. 

The first one shows a burning bridge while the second one a building that has been attacked and is engulfed in flames. 

Although there has been heavy fighting and hundreds of casualties – none of these two pictures are related to the current situation in Sudan, according to AFP.  

Violence erupted on 15 April after a weeks-long power struggle between two generals who seized power in a coup back in 2021. 

The army, under military chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, has clashed with the powerful paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), led by Burhan's own deputy-turned-rival Mohamed Hamdan Daglo.

Both men disagreed over the planned integration of the paramilitary group RSF into Sudan's regular army. 

It was a key condition for a final deal aimed at resuming the country’s democratic transition.

For the first image of the burning bridge, a quick reverse image search leads us to find out it's a photo taken by AFP. 

It dates back to October 2022 and shows the aftermath of an explosion which caused the partial collapse of a bridge linking the Crimean Peninsula with Russia. 

When it comes to the second photo of the burning building, AFP identified it as the Corinthia Hotel also called the Burj al-Fateh tower in Khartoum, the capital of Sudan. 

A reverse image search found a similar image of the hotel -- but with no flames or smoke -- published in a tweet in 2013.

AFP analysis found that the photo posted on Twitter had been photoshopped to add smoke and flames. A spokesperson for the hotel confirmed the photo had been digitally altered. 

To add to the confusion, a few days ago, a fake Twitter account subscribed to Twitter Blue verification claiming to represent the paramilitary group RSF has falsely claimed its leader has died in the fighting.

Many Twitter users took the post’s false announcement at face value. Some have criticised Elon Musk’s new policies on the platform which they claim are confusing, and spreading dangerous misinformation.

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