False Pentagon Explosion Image Goes Viral

A bogus image of an explosion near the Pentagon emerged on social media Monday morning, causing markets to fluctuate around the time the messages surfaced.

According to verified Twitter users, the photograph showed a massive cloud of black smoke near the Pentagon. The tweet was first shared on Twitter on Monday morning by OSINTdefender, who defines himself as an “Open Source Intelligence Monitor.” The post was later removed.

Another verified account imitating a Bloomberg news feed tweeted the image. That account, @BloombergFeed, has subsequently been deactivated. The snapshot was also shared on Twitter by RT, a Russian state media account with nearly 3 million followers.

Following the phony Pentagon photo, another image of what appeared to be the White House in black smoke began to spread on Twitter.

False Pentagon Explosion Image Goes Viral

On Monday, the Arlington Fire Department in Virginia confirmed no explosion near the Pentagon.

@PFPAOfficial and the ACFD are aware of an online social media report circulating about an explosion near the Pentagon,” the department tweeted. “There is NO explosion or incident taking place at or near the Pentagon reservation, and there are no immediate dangers or hazards to the public.”

The S&P 500 had fallen 0.26 percent but quickly bounced back once it was proved the Pentagon image was fake.

How the image was made or if artificial intelligence was used is unknown. However, onlookers noted apparent differences between the image and the actual skyscraper and evidence of generative AI. The Pentagon did not reply quickly to a request for comment on the photo.

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