VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Old photos of earthquake-damaged buildings in Taiwan FALSELY passed off as new


Three photos of buildings that allegedly collapsed after a magnitude 6.9 earthquake last Sept. 18 near Taitung County, Taiwan, were posted by a Facebook (FB) page the next day.

Published by the FB page Pageant Pilipinas, it carried the caption “Pray for Taiwan,” which is misleading. All three images of damaged edifices were from earthquakes that struck Taiwan years ago, reverse image search shows.

The photo of the caved-in building is from Feb. 6, 2016. Its original caption on Getty Images identified the scene as rescue personnel searching for survivors in Tainan, Taiwan following a magnitude 6.4 earthquake that struck the day before. 

A second photo is of a residential building that toppled to its side. It was taken on Sept. 21, 1999 and originally depicts the collapsed Doctors’ Home building complex in the aftermath of the magnitude 7.7 earthquake in Jiji (Chi-Chi), Nantou County, Taiwan.

The final photo of a leaning building supported by wooden poles was captured on Feb. 8, 2018, two days after a magnitude 6.4 earthquake hit Hualien County, Taiwan.

The misleading post got over 6,100 reactions, 1,400 comments, and 1,000 shares. 

Pageant Pilipinas, originally named Miss Philippines’ Road to the Miss Universe Crown, was created on Oct. 19, 2011.

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(Editor’s Note: VERA Files has partnered with Facebook to fight the spread of disinformation. Find out more about this partnership and our methodology.)