Social media flooded with misinformation after surge of migrants in Lampedusa

Rescued migrants disembark from a boat on the Italian island of Lampedusa during the evening of Saturday, Sept. 16, 2023.
Rescued migrants disembark from a boat on the Italian island of Lampedusa during the evening of Saturday, Sept. 16, 2023. Copyright Cecilia Fabiano/LaPresse
By Sophia Khatsenkova
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When more than 10,000 undocumented migrants landed on the shores of the Italian island of Lampedusa last week, social media became flooded with misinformation. Euronews debunked two viral and misleading clips.


In this context of heated discussions on how EU member states should handle illegal immigration, multiple misleading videos have been shared criticising the migrants arriving in Italy.

Since last week, authorities declared a state of emergency as the island's population increased dramatically while NGOs scrambled to help new arrivals.

One video was shared hundreds of thousands of times on X, formerly Twitter. 

It claims to show a violent clash between law enforcement and newly arrived migrants in Lampedusa. 

"The police are powerless to control the situation. This is an invasion," said one user. 

"Migrants in Italy now attack the police. The small island of Lampedusa is about to be captured," said another X account.

After conducting a reverse image search using some stills from this video, The Cube found it was filmed in 2021. 

It wasn’t even filmed in Lampedusa but in Mondolfo, in the central Italian region of Marche.

According to localnews reports, a fight erupted between an Albanian man and a Senegalese man, which escalated into the former stabbing the Senegalese individual.

Two law enforcement officers were injured trying to break up the fight. 

Another misleading video claims Lampedusa migrants are starting fights in Germany

The second viral video claims to show migrants starting fights after having arrived in the German city of Stuttgart from Lampedusa. 

"Today Italy, tomorrow Germany, and then maybe it's time for your country," warned one Polish account.

"In Stuttgart, illegal immigrants from #Lampedusa are engaging in clashes with iron bars and stone-throwing. Thank you the EU for this," wrote a French user. 

A reverse image search reveals the scene was indeed filmed in Stuttgart last week. 

However, the violent altercations started following an Eritrean cultural festival. 

According tomultiple news outlets, the scuffle occurred between pro and anti-government Eritrean activists. 

There is no indication or proof that the fight was caused by migrants who recently arrived from Lampedusa. 

This is not the first time a fight between activists has erupted after an Eritrean festival. 


In July, a clash at an Eritrean festival in the western German city of Giessen left 22 police officers injured.

In September, a fight between Eritrean government supporters and opponents in Tel Aviv led to violent confrontations in the streets. 

More than 100 people, including several dozen police officers, were injured during the fighting.

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