A fake Facebook Live video that showed a still image with sounds was viewed by a whopping 16 million people on Wednesday. The video, a still image of a supermoon over Greece, was up for four hours.
The video went undetected for all that time, averaging a little over four million views for every hour it was up. The live video raised suspicion among some watchers as nothing really changed. It was a still image with wind sounds, which made it seem like it was really live. The image also had a timestamp, another addition to make it seem like it was actually happening.
The live video also benefited from the fact that it came up at the top of the search when people looked for supermoon on the site. The video was posted by a Facebook page called EBUZZ, which only had a few posts in recent years. The page now has hundreds of thousands of followers.
The video was removed after four hours and Facebook recently told CNN that it was taken down for violating the site’s policies. The page remains on the site and it is not known who created it.
No one knows why the page posted the video, since it wasn’t actually real and would eventually get removed by the site. But it may have been done to increase the amount of followers. Live streams usually bring hundreds or thousands of followers/subscribers to users on Facebook, YouTube and Twitch.
16 million views is a lot for a live stream and many viewers probably didn’t notice that it was a still image, especially those who only watched for a few seconds. The video did raise suspicion among several users as they continued to see the moon on the same spot.
In September 2017, the site also saw something similar when videos of Hurricane Irma began surfacing. The videos got millions of views but many of them weren’t of Irma and weren’t live. One post was shared over 600,000 times. EBUZZ was said to be behind one of the live streams, which was a looped GIF of a video that surfaced seven years ago. The video was watched by more than four million people.
CNN found that the image shown on the fake supermoon video was taken by photographer Chris Kotsiopoulos. He told CNN that his images had been used without his permission in the past but never like that.
100 million hours of videos are watched on the site every day, according to recent stats. Facebook Live debuted back in April 2016 and is now a super popular feature on the site.