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.
RT, with over 3 million followers, has posted (since deleted) what looks to be an AI generated photo of an explosion near the Pentagon pic.twitter.com/6Bl7X8ZA2M
— Leonardo Puglisi (@Leo_Puglisi6) May 22, 2023
Following the phony Pentagon photo, another image of what appeared to be the White House in black smoke began to spread on Twitter.
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.”
@PFPAOfficial and the ACFD are aware of a social media report circulating online about an explosion near the Pentagon. There is NO explosion or incident taking place at or near the Pentagon reservation, and there is no immediate danger or hazards to the public. pic.twitter.com/uznY0s7deL
— Arlington Fire & EMS (@ArlingtonVaFD) May 22, 2023
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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Jessa Martin is the author of Nogmagazine, A professional in writing by day, and novelist by night, she received her bachelor of arts in film from Howard University and her master of arts in media studies from the New School. A Brooklyn native, she is a lover of naps, cookie dough, and beaches, currently residing in the borough she loves, most likely multitasking.