Fact Check: Car Trunk Surprise Military Homecoming Video Is NOT Real -- It's A Skit

Fact Check

  • by: Sarah Thompson
Fact Check: Car Trunk Surprise Military Homecoming Video Is NOT Real -- It's A Skit Staged Skit

Did a soldier come home from deployment with plans to surprise her partner, only to discover that he was seeing another woman? No, that's not true: This contrived "caught on tape" drama is a skit using actors for entertainment and monetization -- it does not represent something which really happened.

The video appeared in a post (archived here) published by travel vlogger Christian Betzmann on May 19, 2021. It was titled:

Military Wife Comes Back To This... 😢.

This is what the post looked like on Facebook at the time of writing:

Facebook screenshot

(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Wed May 19 15:15:35 2021 UTC)

This video storyline is similar to a skit video posted with a disclaimer by Julius Dein on April 26, 2021. It is also almost identical to another skit video which was filmed in the USA and posted on April 16, 2021, to the Jibrizy page with this disclaimer:

(For Entertainment Purposes Only)
Thanks so much for watching this video! I do hope you enjoy it. 🙂 Please note that this page features scripted dramas, parody and satire. The events that take place in this particular short-film video are for entertainment purposes only. Similarities to actual people or actual events are coincidences. Thanks!

The improbable storyline of this three-minute, four-second-long video is that a friend is going to help a female soldier to surprise her partner. The friend videotapes as the soldier hides in the trunk of her partner's car while he returns his shopping cart. The friend follows in another car and records the arrival in an unfamiliar neighborhood where another woman is waiting. When the man opens the trunk of his car to get the bags, the crestfallen soldier emerges. The awkward confrontation does not last long and the video ends with the friend saying, "Let's go Becky," and, "Don't listen to him." The video finishes just a few seconds past the three-minute cutoff for Facebook's video monetization.

Below are screenshots comparing the opening scenes of the three videos which are all named, "Military Wife Comes Back To This... 😢." caughtoncam04.jpg

(Source: Facebook screenshots taken on Wed May 19 17:00:59 2021 UTC)

Lead Stories has written about other "caught on camera" skit video productions in the past and explained what is behind the three-minute videos:

Currently Facebook has a monetization program that will allow some content creators to make money from ads that are shown along with their content. Not all content qualifies to be monetized. A creator needs to be popular and have a large audience. Two of the requirements for eligibility for "in-stream ads" listed on the Facebook for Business lessons mention three-minute-long videos:

Have 30,000+ 1-minute views
This metric helps determine how successfully you'll be able to monetize with in-stream ads. In the last 60 days, you need to have had at least 30,000 one-minute views on videos that are at least three minutes long.

Publish videos eligible for in-stream ads
To be eligible for in-stream ads, your videos must be at least 1 minute long. If your content is longer than 3 minutes, we recommend you program your content to have a natural break at the 1-minute mark. Please note that while in-stream monetization supports content less than 3 minutes long, the requirements around publishing 3 minute video content must be met in order to include in-stream ads in your videos.

This video posted by Christian Betzmann is part of a series on Facebook Watch that is called "What Just Happened?!" These videos are different from the Travel Vlog videos that Betzmann is known for on Instagram. There are several other verified Instagram influencer accounts also amplifying skit videos from Betzmann's "What Just Happened?!" Watch channel. It is unclear who the production company is behind this series of "caught on camera videos" which appear to have been filmed in England (the cars have steering wheels on the right) Many of the same actors appear in other videos of the series. Below is a screenshot from a video, "Plumber catches cheating girlfriend" and a scene from the "Military Wife comes back to this," video showing the same actor.

caughtoncam03.JPG

(Source: Facebook screenshots taken on Wed May 19 16:17:55 2021 UTC)

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  Sarah Thompson

Sarah Thompson lives with her family and pets on a small farm in Southeastern Indiana. She founded a Facebook page and a blog called “Exploiting the Niche” in 2017 to help others learn about manipulative tactics and avoid scams on social media. Since then she has collaborated with journalists in the USA, Canada and Australia and since December 2019 she works as a Social Media Authenticity Analyst at Lead Stories.


 

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