‘Verified’ Twitter accounts share fake image of ‘explosion’ near Pentagon, causing confusion | CNN Business
A fake image purporting to show an explosion near the Pentagon was shared by multiple verified Twitter accounts on Monday, causing confusion and causing the stock market to briefly fall. Local authorities later confirmed that no such incident had occurred.
The image, which has all the hallmarks of being generated by artificial intelligence, was shared by numerous verified accounts with blue marks, including one falsely claiming to be associated with Bloomberg News.
“Large explosion near the Pentagon complex in Washington DC. – initial report,” the account posted, along with an image purporting to show black smoke rising near a large building.
Twitter has since suspended the account. It was unclear who was behind the account or where the image originated.
Under owner Elon Musk, Twitter has allowed anyone to get a verified account in exchange for a monthly payment. As a result, Twitter verification is no longer an indicator that an account represents who it claims to represent.
The fake reports of the blast were also broadcast on a major Indian TV channel. Republic TV reported that there had been an explosion, showing the fake image on air and citing reports from Russian news channel RT. The report was later retracted when it became clear that the incident had not taken place.
“Republic had released news of a possible explosion near the Pentagon citing a post and image tweeted by RT,” the outlet later posted on its Twitter account. “RT has removed the post and Republic has retracted the story.”
CNN has reached out to RT, Bloomberg and Twitter for comment.
In the moments after the image began circulating on Twitter, the US stock market took a noticeable plunge. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell about 80 points between 10:06 a.m. and 10:10 a.m., recovering fully by 10:13 a.m. Similarly, the broader S&P 500 was down 0.02% at 10:06 a.m. to down 0.15% at 10:09 a.m. At 10:11, the index was positive again.
The building in the image doesn’t look much like the Pentagon, and experts say it shows signs that it could have been created with AI.
“This image shows typical signs of AI synthesis: there are structural errors in the building and the fence that you wouldn’t see if, say, someone added smoke to an existing photo,” Hany Farid, a professor at the University of California. , Berkeley and a digital forensics expert told CNN.
The Arlington, Virginia, fire department later responded in a tweet, saying it and the Pentagon’s Force Protection Agency were “aware of a social media report circulating online about an explosion near the Pentagon. There is no explosion or incident occurring at or near the Pentagon reservation, and there is no immediate danger or danger to the public.”
– CNN’s David Goldman contributed to the report.