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Fact Check: Satellite Visuals from 2018 Falsely Linked to the Recent Earthquake in Indonesia


On November 21, a powerful earthquake with a magnitude of 5.6, struck Indonesia’s West Java province resulting in at least 160 fatalities, close to a thousand injuries, and millions of dollars worth of damage.

Against the backdrop, visuals claiming that these are of the recent earthquake in Indonesia have gone viral on social media.

The Facebook post reads: Satellite pics of earthquake in Indonesia. Scary.

Here’s the link to the above post.


NewsMobile fact-checked the post, and found it to be old.

Running a keyword search, we found the same visuals in a report by Associated Press which had been uploaded on YouTube on October 2, 2018.

The video description reads: “(1 Oct, 2018) Satellite images show the destruction in Indonesia as the death toll from the massive earthquake and tsunami that hit the island of Sulawesi increases to over 800, and nearly 50,000 people have become homeless by the disaster.”

The same visuals were also shared by CGTN in 2018. The location and date tag reads: Palu, Indonesia (October 1, 2018).

The video description reads: Satellite images have revealed the devastating scale of the massive earthquake and tsunami that hit the Indonesian island of Sulawesi. The images show landmarks in the worst-hit city, Palu, all but obliterated.

According to a report by CNN, a 7.5 magnitude earthquake and the resulting tsunami killed over 1,200 people in Indonesia in 2018.

Hence, it is clear that the satellite visuals are being shared with a misleading claim.

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