Fake photos of Japan typhoon disaster widely shared on Twitter

The Yomiuri Shimbun
These fake photos of flooding were posted on Twitter.

Fake photos of houses that were said to have flooded in Shizuoka Prefecture due to Typhoon No. 15 spread widely after being posted on Twitter, according to the Shizuoka prefectural government.

A Twitter user posted the images early Monday accompanied by text saying: “Drone-shot photos of flood disaster in Shizuoka Prefecture. This is really too horrible.”

As of 6 p.m. Tuesday, the post had been retweeted more than 5,600 times.

There were unnatural elements in the pictures, such as a distorted roofline that should have been straight. The poster later apologized, admitting they had used artificial intelligence to create the images.

“It’s important to prevent confusion stemming from false information and unfounded rumors,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said at a press conference on Tuesday. “The government will call on people to be careful about information that is not based on facts.”

“In times of disaster, false information tends to spread because people want information. It’s important not to spread it carelessly,” said Jun Sakamoto, a Hosei University professor in media and information literacy studies.