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Here's A Running List Of Misinformation About Hurricane Irma

Fake videos and forecasts are spreading online.

Originally posted on
Updated on

Multiple videos appeared Wednesday purporting show large groups of crabs on Florida roads. One of those videos, shared on the Facebook page of a site calling itself Daily News, had nearly a million views and tens of thousands of comments. Snopes traced the video to a site called EBUZZ.buzz, which has a track record of sharing fake news.

Despite showing up on Facebook as though it were live, the footage actually appears to have been taken from a 2011 video that shows crabs migrating in Cuba's Bay of Pigs — where the phenomenon is well-documented.

This post received millions of views and hundreds of thousands of shares, but it's just a four-hour loop of the same recycled video.

Websites TheLastLineOfDefense.org and FreedumJunkshun.com published a false story about the actress getting fired over her comments about climate change and Donald Trump in an interview with UK's Channel 4 news. The websites claim to be satire in the footer, but The Last Line Of Defense has contributed to the spread of misinformation during Hurricane Harvey. Other sites, which did not include a satire disclaimer, frequently copied the posts.

The false Jennifer Lawrence story has been reposted to more than a dozen other websites and received thousands of Facebook reactions, comments, and shares, according to social share tracking tool BuzzSumo.

None of the sites posted proof of the claim. Although Stan Lee's quotes are attributed to TMZ, a search of the website doesn't bring up any results of this story.

4. This video does not show footage of flooding at Miami International Airport. A number of people have shared it, including the president's director of social media.

5. A fake "Facebook Live" video stream claims to show Hurricane Irma in real time, from space.

The stream, provided by the innocuously named 'Trending News' and subsequently shared by a page called 'NewsFeed,' had more than 3 million views as of Sunday afternoon.

The page falsely claim the stream is 'Live from Space' and provided by NASA. NASA's latest updates on Irma can be found here.

6. This is not representative footage of downtown Miami flooding. It is the Miami River. It looks like a river because it's a river.

Miami downtown underwater 😵😵😵 #severeweather #HurricaneIrma #irma

On Sunday, Twitter user Killarney Knight shared footage of the canal that runs through downtown Miami, describing the city as "underwater." Some news organizations picked up the clip, saying it looks "like a disaster movie."

But Twitter users were quick to point out that there is... always... water there, since it's a river.

@KillarneyKnight @Rebel44CZ This is Brickell Key near the mouth of the Miami River. Downtown is flooding, but not that badly.

@KillarneyKnight That's the canal/river that runs through Miami.

@KillarneyKnight That's the canal. There's water there when the weather is calm.

@KillarneyKnight That's a dang canal, this is some misleading bullshit.

7. This is not a photo of gridlock in Florida.

People on Facebook are sharing a photo from the worst traffic jam in Texas history, when residents evacuated Hurricane Rita in 2005, to illustrate stories about Florida evacuations.

A quick reverse image search shows the photograph was taken in September of that year, when an estimated 2.5 million people took to the roads to leave Houston in advance of the storm.

Some waited for more than 20 hours in the heat during the gridlock, with dozens suffering and even dying of heatstroke. The botched emergency exit became a cautionary tale of how not to evacuate a city.

Shark-related hoaxes show up in every major national disaster, usually in the form of a shark swimming in the street. The image above was created using the website breakyourownnews.com, according to the easy-to-miss watermark in the top right. It's not clear how many people fell for it, but in case it needs saying: there have been zero reports of Irma containing sharks.

Appliance manufacturer Maytag told BuzzFeed News they do not recommend storing valuables in a dishwasher. The Environmental Protection Agency has also warned that dishwashers may flood in a 2009 report.

@JaneLytv Hello Jane, we do not recommend storing valuables in the Dishwasher.

FEMA recommends unplugging all appliances and electronics before a potential flood.

A Facebook message that has been copy-and-pasted dozens of times says that because of the 2006 Pets Evacuation and Transportation Standards Act hotels are required to take in pets, but that's not in the act. Instead, it requires governments organizations to take pets into account during evacuations.

FEMA has a list of how owners can take care of pets in emergency situations and a link to a pet-friendly hotel finder. Service animals, however, have to be accommodated in any space where the general public is allowed. This includes government organizations, non-profits, and businesses.

11. This video of a five-story building collapsing got 2 million views and over 50,000 shares on Facebook and was posted about on The Daily Mail, but it's not of the Virgin Islands. As Mashable reports, the video is of a flood in Tibet and it first went viral in July.

12. Zello, a walkie-talkie app many used during hurricane Harvey, is warning its users against misinformation. The app will not work without an internet connection, despite reports saying otherwise.

There is a massive misinformation among users in Puerto Rico that Zello will work without internet. It will *not*, please RT.

14. Any claims about Irma hitting the east coast are currently unfounded. People are using a map from a 1960 hurricane to justify a false forecast about Irma. The Daily Express and some blogs said Irma could "devastate" the entire east coast, but offer no proof.

Official models and forecasts have not raised the possibility of Irma hitting the east coast. You can see the live forecast map and other updates in our post here.

15. Watch out for the false weather forecasts. The National Weather Service put out a warning last week after a false forecast went viral.

Keep your eyes out for fake forecasts. THIS is what an official NOAA advisory looks like. Note: forecast only goes… https://t.co/VmS8qsCjVR

A blog post by Republican congressional candidate Michael Snyder titled, "Category 6? If Hurricane Irma Becomes The Strongest Hurricane In History, It Could Wipe Entire Cities Off The Map," speculated that Irma could be designated as a new category of hurricane. Only categories 1 through 5 exist on the current scale. A Category 5 hurricane implies "catastrophic damage."

"Once you say catastrophic and there's near complete damage, why do you need a 6?" Dennis Feltgen, a spokesperson for the National Hurricane Center, told CBC news.

17. This is not a video of Irma hitting the Caribbean. It's a video of a tornado that was posted at least a year ago.

Astonishing video starting to come in of cat 5 Irma winds in Barbados

This post will be updated as we see more hoaxes and misinformation being shared. The most recent debunkings will appear at the top of the post.

Jane Lytvynenko is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Toronto, Canada. PGP fingerprint: A088 89E6 2500 AD3C 8081 BAFB 23BA 21F3 81E0 101C.

Contact Jane Lytvynenko at jane.lytvynenko@buzzfeed.com.

Cora Lewis is a business reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York. Lewis reports on labor.

Contact Cora Lewis at cora.lewis@buzzfeed.com.

Remy Smidt is a reporter with BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.

Contact Remy Smidt at remy.smidt@buzzfeed.com.

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