U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi arrived in Taiwan on Aug. 2, becoming the highest-ranking American official in 25 years to visit the self-ruled island claimed by China. In response to Pelosi’s visit, China announced that it would conduct military maneuvers in retaliation for her presence.
As China was making those announcements, various social media posts circulated online during Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan claiming to show videos of both U.S. and Chinese forces conducting military exercises.
VERIFY looked into whether two of the most viral videos are real.
Does this video show Chinese ships conducting live missile firing drills during Pelosi’s visit?
The video, posted multiple times, has thousands of views across Twitter and Facebook.
No, this video was not taken during Pelosi’s visit and it does not show Chinese ships conducting a missile drill. It was taken during a 2020 Taiwanese military exercise.
WHAT WE FOUND
Using RevEye, a reverse image search tool, VERIFY was able to confirm this video was posted online nearly two years before Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan.
The video was posted by two different Chinese news agencies in November 2020.
Taiwanese news channel EBC News uploaded the video to YouTube on Nov. 6, 2020. Beginning at 12 seconds into the video, you can see the same sequence of events that could be seen in the video that’s currently going viral.
On Nov. 13, 2020, Chinese media company Tong Media posted a 55-second video to Facebook. Beginning at the 22-second mark, you can see the missiles flying through the air, mirroring the video that circulated during Pelosi’s visit.
The 2020 Facebook post, written in Chinese and translated via Google Translate, said: “Fireworks show? The Taiwan Army's live ammunition exercise attracted people to watch the shells passed directly over their heads, which was ridiculed by netizens [people online]. Recently, residents of Matsu took pictures of the Taiwanese army's live-fire drill on the main road. This scene attracted many nearby residents, who stopped to watch and take pictures. However, the shells at the scene flew directly over the heads of the people and hit the sea not far away, causing netizens to call out the danger. More netizens directly satirized: Are you sure it's not a fireworks show? (Source: Haike News)”
Haike News is a news application that allows individuals to upload content and send it to the news outlets.
So, we can VERIFY this footage was taken nearly two years before Pelosi visited Taiwan and shows Taiwanese ships launching the missiles, not Chinese ones.
Does this video show U.S. Naval warships and Air Force planes performing drills off the coast of China ahead of Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan?
The same video was posted multiple times on Twitter and has more than 100,000 combined views.
No, the video was not taken in 2022 and dates back to at least 2021.
WHAT WE FOUND
Using InVid, a video forensics tool, VERIFY was able to separate the individual frames of the video into still images. Then, using RevEye, VERIFY was able to find several instances when the video was posted prior to Nancy Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan.
VERIFY has reached out to the Navy and Air Force to confirm the exact date.
Although we couldn’t VERIFY the exact source of the video by the time of publication, we can confirm it’s not from Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan.