Fact Check: Image Does NOT Document Archaeologists At Tombs Of Giants In Crimea -- Recycled Clickbait With AI-Generated Images

Fact Check

  • by: Sarah Thompson
Fact Check: Image Does NOT Document Archaeologists At Tombs Of Giants In Crimea -- Recycled Clickbait With AI-Generated Images AI Generated

Do photos document archaeologists found tombs in Crimea containing the remains of giants? No, that's not true: This clickbait story is made up and it uses fake images of giant skeletons to drive traffic to a website with potentially malicious ads. The fake images used in the post on Facebook do not even appear in the recycled article on the website. The Hive Moderation AI-generated content detection tool rates the images 99.7 - 99.9 percent likely to be AI generated.

The claim appears in a post (archived here) where it was published by the Facebook page Mystical Archeology on April 5, 2024 with this caption:

Archaeologists in a state of shock: "Tombs of Giants found in Crimea" (Details in comments👇)
#AlienEncounters #AncientMysteries

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

(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Mon Apr 15 15:46:52 2024 UTC)

The first comment contains a link to a March 10, 2024, article on website hoan.caphemoingay.com (archived here). The text of the article is peppered with homoglyphs -- characters that, to the human eye, resemble characters in a familiar alphabet, but which disguise the text from automated plagiarism detection (pictured below). Lead Stories found duplicate copies of the story that also contained substituted words and phrases, another tactic used to defeat plagiarism detection known as "article spinning."

A video posted on August 14, 2022, on YouTube is titled, "Giants' tombs found in Crimea." This video has a robo-voiceover reading a script virtually the same as the text of the hoan.caphemoingay.com article. The images on the video are the same images used in the article. Another copy of this article appeared on April 11, 2024, on mysterious.vncash24h.com (archived here) and also includes the fake AI-generated images which were visible in the Mystical Archeology Facebook post.


(Source: hoan.caphemoingay.com screenshot taken on Mon Apr 15 17:25:26 2024 UTC)

The hoan.caphemoingay.com site displays many aggressive pop-up ads, including a fake Flash Player Update (pictured above). This is a trick to get people to install malicious adware programs to their device. The Adobe Flash Player "End-of-Life" was on December 31, 2020. There is no, and never will be another, Flash Player update to install. Adobe "strongly recommends all users immediately uninstall Flash Player to help protect their systems."

One of the images (pictured above) is derived from a photo of a real archeological dig in the ancient Greek city of Phanagoria, across the Kerch Strait from Crimea. The Russian news agency Ruptly reported on the find on August 26, 2019. There were bones and artifacts discovered, but not from giants. Aleksei Voroshilov, the head of the necropolis research division at the Phanagoria archeological dig was quoted:

In these graves we can see the remains of a family: an adult man - a warrior and a horseman and a woman - his wife and three children. Judging by what we have found here the man was served the city's army. He was a horseman, because we found riding stirrups and spurs too.

Lead Stories used the Hive Moderation platform to analyze the images featured in the Facebook post, using the Hive browser extension, the composite of three images was analyzed as one (pictured below). Hive assessed a 99.8 percent likelihood that the input was AI generated.


(Image source: Facebook screenshot with Hive browser extension taken on Mon Apr 15 17:44:00 2024 UTC)

Lead Stories then split the composite image into three images and analyzed them individually on hivemoderation.com. Again the results were as high as the tool will return, with two registering 99.9 percent and one at 99.7 percent.


(Image source: Lead Stories composite image of Hivemoderation.com screenshots taken on Mon Apr 15 18:21:25 2024 UTC)

Additional Lead Stories fact checks on giant skeleton hoaxes can be found 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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