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Iran retaliated on January 8 by firing 22 ballistic missiles at the Iraqi air base at Ain al-Assad. Ayman HENNA / AFP

Many images shared on social media to illustrate the strikes by Iran against American bases in Iraq are false. Explanations from Marie Genries of Observateurs de France 24.

Many of these photos and videos, most of which displayed spectacular scenes, went viral by spreading from site to site using the keyword #IranvsUSA. One of them, for example, which was consulted almost 30,000 times, was supposed to have been taken just moments after the impact of the Iranian missiles on the American base.

ویدئویی که گفته می‌شود لحظاتی پس از حملات موشکی ایران به پایگاه # عين_الأسد ضبط شده است. این حجم از آتش و انفجار به زیبایی نشان دهنده‌ی ادعای ترامپ است که گفت:
"همه چیز بسیار خوب است!" # انتقام_سخت # IranVSUSa pic.twitter.com/89mrUybVU4

حاج حیدر (@haj_haydar) January 8, 2020

The apparently filmed scene from the roof or window of an apartment suggested sounds of explosions and showed columns of smoke coming from several fires in the distance. It was actually a video dated 2017, when drones were fired at an Aramco oil factory in Saudi Arabia.

Many free and online tools , however, make it easy to trace the origin of an image, reminds us journalist Marie Genries of the site and of the program Les Observateurs on France 24 , who decrypted these videos and photos taken from their contexts: “ To give you an example, one of the first images that I deciphered, is a photo of a missile which is sent and which takes off in an explosion of sparks and flames, it is quite impressive. I used Tineye which is a reverse image search tool. I realized that this photo was not taken this year, but in 2017. It was the snapshot of a missile which had indeed been sent by Iran, but, at the time, launched on a base terrorist in Syria. In the article on the Observers website, there was also this photo shared by an Iranian journalist showing Ayatollah Ali Khamenei who supposedly supervised the launch of the missiles . We could not really find the origin of the image, but we looked at the comments of the Internet users who had shared the same photo dating from 2014, showing Ali Khamenei visiting the installations of the aerospace forces of the Guardians of the Revolution. "

Iranian media: Khamenei personally oversees the Iranian missile attack on US bases in Iraq from the IRGC's operating room. #IranvsUSA pic.twitter.com/zKOpjQZThb

Ihtisham Ul Haq (@iihtishamm) January 8, 2020

These publications were often republished by Internet users who took for cash what they saw passing on their news feeds. And that may be where the problem of effectively fighting fake news lies. This verification is mainly based on the constant vigilance of Internet users, and the investigations, carried out, in this case, a posteriori , by journalists.

And that will not be enough to stem the phenomenon. The false images of the Iranian strikes in Iraq prove, once again, that the large platforms of Facebook, via Twitter or YouTube have failed, by being unable to control the profusion of false publications.