Fact Check: Large Lightning Bolt, Strange Lights Did NOT Appear Right Before Morocco Earthquake In This Video -- 2020 CGI Video Creation

Fact Check

  • by: Sarah Thompson
Fact Check: Large Lightning Bolt, Strange Lights Did NOT Appear Right Before Morocco Earthquake In This Video -- 2020 CGI Video Creation Old And Fake

Did a large lightning bolt and strange lights appear in this video right before the earthquake struck Morocco on September 8, 2023? No, that's not true: The video, originally posted on TikTok (archived here) on May 1, 2020, was removed from its original context and a false caption added by someone else. It does not show the moments before the September 8, 2023, earthquake in Morocco. The video, created by the TikTok user @jayhideaway, features computer-generated special effects added to nighttime footage of the Koreatown neighborhood of Los Angeles.

Hideaway's account features a variety of over-the-top science fiction video creations including scenes of the sun exploding, dancing zombies and a flying dragon attacking a city. On the digital marketplace Open Sea, JayHideaway's collection is described as "Original Apocalyptic Video Art." This TikTok video was captioned:

First a pandemic and now ALIENS?!?!?! #scary #attack #aliens #foryoupage #foryou #fyp #viral #tiktok #thisjusthappened #ohno

On September 11, 2023, @Philipcong31 posted the video (archived here) on X (formerly Twitter). It was captioned:

UNIQUE sighting... 🔺 👁
⚡️Large light formations and strange lightnings appeared right before the 💥
earthquake in Morocco. This happened right before the 💥earthquake in Morocco, and it was observed across the country. #earthquake #moroccoearthquake

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

Twitter screenshot(Source: X screenshot taken on Tue Sep 12 13:20:31 2023 UTC)

Text captioning added to the video reads:

Large lightning appears before earthquake in Morocco with unknown causes

This video is not real, it predates 2023, and although the added captioning obscures the urban scenery in the foreground, this is also not Morocco. The distinctive shopping plaza with a smoke shop kiosk on the corner is visible in the original video. Lead Stories identified the street lined with tall palm trees as Normandie Avenue. The kiosk is on the corner of 3rd Street in Los Angeles. A Google Street View image is paired (below) with a screenshot from the @jayhideaway video.

(Source: Lead Stories composite image with Google Street View and TikTok screenshots taken on Tue Sep 12 16:33:13 2023 UTC)

Lead Stories has debunked many false claims in the aftermath of natural disasters such as floods, wildfires and earthquakes.

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  Sarah Thompson

Sarah Thompson lives with her family and pets on a small farm in 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.


Read more about or contact Sarah Thompson

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