The fires have been the subject of false posts that have spread rapidly online. False claims about the deadly wildfires in Hawaii – including that shadowy forces orchestrated the disaster with a laser beam – have gained traction online. The misleading posts come from a variety of sources and accounts, but generally imply that “elites” or government agencies deliberately started the fires. Some of the most popular theories are couched in questions about a “narrative” and make claims that alternative views are being “censored”, despite collecting millions of views. While there are specific rumours circulating about Maui, they fit into a general pattern repeatedly seen after extreme weather events and natural disasters – politically motivated activists seeking to downplay the potential impact of climate change. ‘Energy weapon’ Videos and images claiming that the wildfires were not a natural disaster – and were instead caused by a “directed energy weapon”, a “laser beam” or explosion – have been viewed millions of times. One video viewed 10 million times claims to show a large explosion in Maui just before the fires. But the video was originally a viral clip shared on TikTok in May showing a transformer explosion in Chile. Chilean TV network Chilevisión ran a report on the viral video, confirming the explosion was the result of a blown transformer caused by strong wind. An image of a church on fire in Hawaii has been viewed 9 million times, with claims it shows a laser beam striking it. But it has been digitally altered. The original image – of the Waiola Church in Lahaina in flames on 8 August – has no laser beam or ray of light visible. Two other false images have been racking up huge numbers of views. One shows a fireball and a bright streak of light rising up towards the night sky. It, too, has been accompanied by claims that wildfires are not a natural phenomenon. But a search on the internet for previous versions of this image reveals the photo shows a controlled burn at an Ohio oil refinery and was first posted online in January 2018. The streak of light, known as a “light pillar”, is an optical illusion formed by reflections off ice crystals on a cold day. A similar image claims to show a huge beam of light in Maui just before the wildfires. But it shows the launch of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket in California in May 2018.

via bbc: Hawaii wildfires: ‘Directed energy weapon’ and other false claims go viral

Fake news video; source: rumble. Posted many times on twitter