Heads up, some “Ukraine Footage” you see online might actually be footage from a video game

According to a report, some of the most-viewed videos on Facebook were clips that looked like footage of military action in Ukraine. However, these clips turned out to just be footage from the video game ArmA III—and they looked very realistic.

Arma III is a military tactical shooter, and is currently known as “one of the most realistic military simulation games available“. With that, it also resulted in Russian news airing footage of the game during a segment on the Syrian War back in 2018. You can watch the trailer of the game below.

Recently, some realistic game footage from Arma III has been circulating on Twitter, posted with the text “Ukraine fires missiles to intercept Russian aircraft’s artillery fire”. The post reportedly gained 11,000 likes and almost 2000 retweets before it has been removed by Twitter, but you can still see the footage here. The same clip has also been watched by “more than 110,000 people and shared more than 25,000 times” before they were taken down by Facebook.

Looking at the clip myself… if I wasn’t told that the footage was from a video game, I would have believed that it was footage taken in Ukraine. The video was pretty blurry (how most viral “believe-it-or-not” clips are), involving a plane in the air being attacked—and it’s just wild enough for us to go, “Huh… that seems real enough“.

For a quick rundown on what’s going on right now, Russia has launched an attack on Ukraine, sending forces across borders in Ukraine’s north, east and south. The invasion happened after Russian President Putin went on TV declaring that Russia could not feel “safe, develop and exist” because of what he called “a constant threat” from modern Ukraine.

After Moscow unleashed the “biggest attack on a European state since World War Two“, and a flood of social media shares from Ukrainians aiming to share what’s happening from inside the country, it’s sometimes difficult to tell what’s real and what’s not online. Use this as a reminder that if you see posts about Ukraine and Russia on social media, it’s always good to check your sources before sharing them.

Besides social media and Russian news falling for fake footage from Arma III, CNN had also previously aired footage from the game Fallout as B-roll in a segment about Russian hacking. Before that, the BBC used the UNSC symbol from Halo while discussing the United Nations.

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