Verified Twitter accounts share fake image of ‘explosion’ near Pentagon, causing confusion
A fake image purporting to show an explosion near the Pentagon was shared by multiple verified Twitter accounts on Monday, causing confusion and leading to a brief dip in the stock market. Local officials later confirmed no such incident had occurred.
The image, which bears all the hallmarks of being generated by artificial intelligence, was shared by numerous verified accounts with blue check marks, including one that falsely claimed it was associated with Bloomberg News.
“Large explosion near the Pentagon complex in Washington DC – initial report,” the account posted, along with an image purporting to show black smoke rising near a large building.
The account has since been suspended by Twitter. It was unclear who was behind the account or where the image originated.
Under owner Elon Musk, Twitter has allowed anyone to obtain a verified account in exchange for a monthly payment. As a result, Twitter verification is no longer an indicator that an account represents who it claims to represent.
The false reports of the explosion also made their way to air on a major Indian television network. Republic TV reported that an explosion had taken place, showing the fake image on its air and citing reports from the Russian news outlet RT. It later retracted the report when it became clear the incident had not taken place.