Russia's Ministry of Defense ended up the target of derision after releasing an image it claimed to be "proof" that the US military forces were working with supposed Islamic State soldiers. The problem is that the proof the Ministry presented was actually from a screenshot from a 2015 video game.
It's not even from a famous one either. According to PCGamesN, the screenshot is from a gameplay footage video for a game called AC-130 Gunship Simulator which was uploaded to YouTube by its developer.
So here's the English version of the caption @mod_russia put on a video game screenshot "ISIS automobile convoy leaves Abu Kamal for Syrian-Iraqi border (November 9th, 2017)" https://t.co/8uv2vbEHeQ pic.twitter.com/Ye7hX5HplH— Eliot Higgins (@EliotHiggins) November 14, 2017
Russia re-published the video writing, "The U.S. are actually covering the ISIS combat units to recover their combat capabilities, redeploy, and use them to promote the American interests in the Middle East." The Twitter post has since been deleted.
Commenters picked up the fact that the Russian MOD published a video from a video game and subsequently mocked the mistake. "What am I paying my taxes for," said one Russian commenter before going into a series of expletives (h/t Newsweek).
The social media post for both its Russian language channel and the English-language version were also deleted following the revelation that the scene was from a video game.
As Eurogamer noted, this isn't the first time content from a video game was mistaken for real-life news. Russian media RT once broadcast a screenshot from Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain on a report on African soldiers.
In fact, other Russian entities have been using video games for a long time. Recently it was even uncovered that Russian propagandists tried to use Pokémon Go to provoke racial tensions in the US.
Several outlets who have reported on the footage have since retracted their reports and apologized, except for RT.
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