Pictures show the damage to the US aircraft carrier after the Houthi missile attack

For more than a week, photos have been circulating on social media claiming to show a US Navy nuclear-powered submarine. Nimitz– The giant aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69) in port to repair damage in the Red Sea after being hit by missiles fired by Houthi rebels in Yemen. At least one video also allegedly shows the carrier burning after a direct hit.

According to the US Navy, the tanker is fine. Although it remains already deployed in the Red Sea to protect commercial shipping from drones and missiles fired by the Iran-backed group that controls large swaths of Yemen, there have been no confirmed reports that the ship has sustained any damage.

However, on Thursday the latest video containing the allegations was posted on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter.

This came on the heels of another post from user @iAmTheWarax claiming the carrier had to return to Crete for repairs.

“CONFIRMED: The USS Eisenhower (pictured docked for repairs in Al Soudah Bay) was severely damaged by multiple Houthi ballistic missiles. Based on the extensive tent city being developed on the flight deck, we estimate that Eisenhower is unlikely to return to service for the foreseeable future.

@DrMansourMansou also shared a 30-second video earlier this week, where smoke can be seen billowing above the flight deck after a missile or drone hit the ship.

All of these posts – and others – have been debunked.

The most recent footage has been confirmed to have been taken more than a year ago while the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower It was docked at Pier 12 at Naval Station Norfolk in Virginia in April 2023, while the photo claimed that CVN-69 was in Crete and was not even a US Navy ship. In fact, it was the Russian naval flagship Admiral Kuznetsovwhich has been undergoing refit at the 35th ship repair plant in Murmansk since 2018.

The video clip showing the fire in the carrier is believed to be taken from a video game. Users on social media noticed that the shape of the island on the flight deck differed from that of the US Navy Nimitz– Carrier class.

Disinformation campaign

Posts on social media have gained momentum since the Houthis’ military spokesman, Yahya Saree, repeated the claim that the rebel group had succeeded in targeting the US destroyer USS. Dwight D. Eisenhower And other warships in its aircraft carrier strike group last weekend. While these images are easy to quickly debunk and dismiss in the United States, in parts of the world they can be taken as fact.

Although some of it may also be laughable, it is part of a carefully orchestrated disinformation campaign.

“Misinformation and disinformation are certainly not new, but social media platforms have exacerbated this existing problem,” warned Dr. Juliana Kirchner, a lecturer at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.

“These platforms have no lag time, and content can be written and/or loaded quickly,” Kirchner explained. “This virtual scene makes it possible for people to say USS Eisenhower Drenched in reality. Attempts at humor are often the source of these claims, but the sarcasm and tone are often lost on these platforms. When taken seriously, other users may believe they are encountering new realities when that could be far from the truth.

It’s easier than ever to fake misleading content

The big danger is that it is easier than ever to manipulate videos and photos, and in a short time, it may be very difficult to tell fact from fiction.

Tech industry analyst Charles King of Pund-IT suggested that “image swapping scams are fairly easy to refute – as claimed by the Houthi attack. The bigger problems and risks will come with deepfake videos.” “For example, a video that slightly alters a political leader’s speech to make him or her appear older, unsure, or even worn out. If these videos are released shortly before an election, before they have been effectively debunked, they could significantly influence preferences.” Voters.”

Misinformation relies on the effect of priority or first impressions, which makes it difficult to debunk, even if it seems impossible.

“It’s common for users to see photos and videos that prove these lies, and they believe them,” Kirchner said. “However, when contrary and truthful information is later presented, the same group of people may double down. On a psychological level, they do not want to admit that they have been deceived or may not realize that they have been deceived. Therefore, they continue to present their first impression as fact despite the inconsistency of Evidence. This is particularly the case when misinformation and disinformation support users’ pre-existing ideology, as is the case in Yemen and Iran.

Another unprecedented aspect of social media’s influence in spreading this type of misinformation is the size of the potential audience.

“Anyone can post nonsense at any time,” Kirchner continued. “However, whether its content reaches any significant audience size is debatable.” “However, the potential is always there, so users and bot owners alike are distributing false content on social media in the hopes that they will reach a discoverable audience. If posts like this reach out in Yemen, Iran, or wherever Another one on this matter.” If the priority effect is any indication, we should all be concerned that the damage caused by these posts will be difficult to deprogram.

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