Soon after Hurricane Harvey made a landfall in Houston, Texas, a number of fake photos and videos began flooding the social media showing everything from a Photoshopped shark swimming through a submerged street to the airplanes at Houston airport drowning in water.
Unfortunately, many people fell for those hoaxes, which is understandable because not everyone knows how to spot digital alteration or bothers to verify the source of the photo or video before sharing it further.
With Hurricane Irma currently battering Miami, Florida, these bogus images are once again circulating on the internet, and it looks like White House Social Media Director Dan Scavino Jr., whose one job is to authenticate and fact-check media before sending it to the president, just fell for one of them.
Scavino, who frequently targets media for its supposed coverage of “fake news,” recently posted a video, which he thought showed the flooding at the Miami International Airport. He even mentioned President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence in the tweet to help them monitor and keep track of Irma’s destruction.
But the place shown in the video was not the Miami airport — as the airport itself fact-checked the social media director.
This video is not from Miami International Airport.— Miami Int'l Airport (@iflymia) September 10, 2017
Scavino shortly deleted his original tweet. However, instead of apologizing for spreading misinformation that could potentially lead to more chaos and panic during a natural disaster, the Trump aide blamed the number of photos and videos he is getting in his inbox for the faux pas.
Thank you. It was among 100s of videos/pics I am receiving re: Irma from public. In trying to notify all, I shared - have deleted. Be safe!— Dan Scavino Jr. (@Scavino45) September 10, 2017
Thanks, Dan.— Miami Int'l Airport (@iflymia) September 10, 2017
Apparently, the clip was of Mexico City during an earlier storm.
While the airport administration, or whoever is running their social media account, was quick to thank Scavino for deleting the tweet, some online users are frustrated that he shared it in the first place without validating it.
You would hope that the "White House Director of Social Media" would know better about authenticating videos before sharing them with POTUS pic.twitter.com/TTourdnZuO— Jesse Rodriguez (@JesseRodriguez) September 10, 2017
Miami International Airport: 1— Vera Bergengruen (@VeraMBergen) September 10, 2017
Trump's Director of Social Media: 0 pic.twitter.com/sZMyLjPZU3
You have a duty to 'verify' before sharing. Literally your job. Your improperly punctuated Tweet skips over that. Not okay.— CindyWheeler (@cincity631) September 11, 2017
The White House director of social media circulates fake images on Twitter and doesn't care when caught. https://t.co/dRe0A6tnoQ— Jay Rosen (@jayrosen_nyu) September 10, 2017
Dan, a true, honest professional would CHECK HIS SOURCES before posting anything. You're woefully inadequate in this WH role.— OneKwatt (@OneKarawatt) September 10, 2017
You're the social media director, you think you might check your sources with, I don't know, the government you work for! FFS #FactsMatter— jeepgirl (@Jeep_TJ_Girl) September 11, 2017
Fake news eh? Watch CNN or Weather Channel for real news— Craig (@CraigNJ66) September 10, 2017
Thumbnail/Banner: Reuters, Brian Snyder