Does a video shared to social media in April 2023 authentically show a "cloud factory" in Chicago that makes rain to "control the climate"? No, that's not true: The video was posted to TikTok on April 1, 2023 -- April Fools' Day -- and features a man wearing a helmet with the logo of a Chicago-based sweetener manufacturing company.
The claim originated in a 13-second video posted on TikTok on April 1, 2023, with a text overlay that read "PSA" and a caption stating, "It's time to open your eyes #woke #conspiracy." The geolocation pin on the video was set to Chicago. A person in the video said:
Hey, I don't know if y'all know this, but I actually work at a cloud factory. We create clouds and make rain for the city of Chicago. The government -- the government doesn't want you to know this: We control the climate.
Below is how the video appeared at the time of writing:
(Source: TikTok screenshot taken Wed April 12 15:14:27 UTC 2023)
Although it appears this video is a joke, it has been shared on other social media platforms to promote the conspiracy that the government manipulates the weather. One such example was in a post on Instagram on April 3, 2023, with an accompanying caption that read:
😳PSA THIS IS A REAL THING❗️
The account @begin2ends shares other posts on Instagram that promote conspiracy theories, including drawing links between Satan and online retailer Amazon, supposed methods to "block out the sun" and supposed media coverups of "portal openings." The Instagram account also doesn't provide any additional information about their sourcing methods, but rather features a bio line that reads:
🚨Just a messenger
♻️Share the content & Follow🤯
The person in the original video shared to TikTok, whose account primarily features posts describing virtual reality and video gaming, was wearing a helmet that read "Ingredion." Ingredion describes itself as a "global ingredients solutions company" that manufactures "sweeteners, starches, nutrition ingredients, and biomaterials" used in foods, beverages and pharmaceuticals. The company adds that:
We turn grains, fruits, vegetables and other plant materials into ingredients that make crackers crunchy, candy sweet, yogurt creamy, lotions and creams silky, plastics biodegradable and tissues softer and stronger. Our innovative ingredient solutions help customers stay on trend with simple ingredients and gluten-free or high-fiber foods that appeal to today's consumers.
According to Google Maps, there are two Ingredion manufacturing facilities and one corporate office located in Chicago. One of the industrial facilities appears to be located at 6400 South Archer Road in Bedford Park, Illinois.
Lead Stories captured two screenshots from the TikTok video to determine where it was recorded, and found both to feature a large industrial area that showed factories, train depots, parking lots and what appeared to be a large water tower located near a pole:
(Source: Google Maps screenshots captured Wed April 12 22:07:44 UTC 2023)
A Google Street View map located the tower in question near 7344 West 59th St. with the word "Summit" written on it in blue. Summit, a suburb of Chicago, is less than two miles from the Bedford Park location of Ingredion:
(Source: Google Maps screengrab taken Wed April 12 17:45:57 UTC 2023)
A Google aerial view of the facility showed a large parking lot similar to the one featured in the video:
(Source: Google Maps screenshot taken Wed April 12 17:48:01 UTC 2023)
Lead Stories tried to contact the original poster of the video for further confirmation that their video was an April Fools' joke. Our newsroom also contacted Ingredion for comment on claims made on social media that presented the joke video as fact. We will update this article when we receive a response.
Lead Stories has also reported that lenticular cloud layers do not demonstrate "what the end of the world looks like," that websites about geoengineering do not prove that airplanes are spraying the atmosphere to control the weather, and that a viral video did not show NASA generating rain clouds and producing its own weather.