Fact Check: That's NOT People Sleeping On Ground In Gaza In October 2023 -- It's World Youth Day In Portugal Weeks Earlier

Fact Check

  • by: Sarah Thompson
Fact Check: That's NOT People Sleeping On Ground In Gaza In October 2023 -- It's World Youth Day In Portugal Weeks Earlier Lisbon Event

Does a video show displaced Palestinian people who had no place to go sleeping outdoors on the ground? No, that's not true: The video was filmed in early August 2023 in Lisbon, Portugal, during World Youth Day, an international Catholic pilgrimage and gathering with the pope. The video is unrelated to the Hamas-Israel conflict and Israel's October 13, 2023, evacuation order for civilians in the northern part of Gaza to relocate to the southern part.

The miscaptioned video was posted on TikTok (archived here) by @usakhan92 on October 16, 2023. It was captioned:

last night free free Palestine #freepalestine #today #Hamas #gaza #fypใ‚ทใ‚š #fyp #palestine #makkahmadinah๐Ÿ•‹ #news #viral #foryou #fypใ‚ทใ‚šviral #uae๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡ช #๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡พ๐Ÿ‡น๐Ÿ‡ท๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡ฐ๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ฏ๐Ÿ‡ด๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ฐ๐Ÿ‡ผ๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ญ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ถ๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ฏ๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ด๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ผ๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฟ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ฏ๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ถ๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡พ๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ฟ๐Ÿ‡ผ๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡ฟ๐Ÿ‡ฐ๐Ÿ‡ญ
This is how the post appeared on TikTok at the time of writing:

TikTok screenshot

(Source: TikTok screenshot taken on Wed Oct 18 14:15:55 2023 UTC)

A text caption on the video includes a Palestinian flag and crying face emoji. It reads:

There was no place to sleep last night

There is also an audio track added to the video, marked "original sound - USA ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ khan." This is not the original soundtrack of the original video. This track originated in another video (archived here) showing a rubble-filled street and damaged buildings. The audio begins with a droning sound like that of an airplane flying overhead, two men greet each other and finally a track of guitar music with a female singer is added.

The original 16-second video of World Youth Day attendees sleeping was posted on YouTube (archived here) and TikTok (archived here) on August 6, 2023, by Solo Catecumenos. The title and caption, translated from Spanish by Google, reads:

This is how the million and a half young people spent the night in #Lisbon #Lisbon2023 #WYD2023

This is how the million and a half young people spent the night in #Lisbon #Lisbon2023 #JMJ2023 #JMJ2023Lisbon
#lisboaportugal #youth #day #pilgrims #worldyouthday2023 #popefrancis #popefrancisco #youngchristians #jmj2023 #seoul2027 #seoul

World Youth Day has taken place in different locations every several years since 1986. The website for WYD Lisbon 2023 describes the event this way:

World Youth Day (WYD) is the gathering of young people from all over the world with the Pope. It is also a pilgrimage, a celebration of youth, an expression of the universal Church and an intense moment of evangelization for the youth world. Although its Catholic identity is clearly evident, WYD opens its doors to everyone, no matter how close to or distant from the Church they are.

It is celebrated at the diocesan level on Palm Sunday, and every two, three or four years as an international gathering in a city chosen by the Pope, with the presence of the Holy Father. It brings together millions of young people to celebrate their faith and sense of belonging to the Church.

Other Lead Stories fact checks pertaining to the Hamas-Israel conflict are here.

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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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