The day before, a photograph of an alleged explosion on the territory of the US Department of Defense appeared on social networks. The image was created by artificial intelligence, and after it was published by large accounts, the value of the 500 largest US companies decreased by half a trillion dollars.
What is known
The photo originally appeared on Facebook, after which it was quickly circulated on Twitter. The photo shows a huge column of smoke next to the building of the Ministry of Defense. The picture was published by an account that is associated with the QAnon conspiracy group. Facebook removed the post.
Confident that this picture claiming to show an “explosion near the pentagon” is AI generated.
Check out the frontage of the building, and the way the fence melds into the crowd barriers. There’s also no other images, videos or people posting as first hand witnesses. pic.twitter.com/t1YKQabuNL
— Nick Waters (@N_Waters89) May 22, 2023
On the social network Twitter, the photo was distributed, among other things, by the accounts of Russian propagandists. A paid Bloomberg Feed account also posted the photo and was banned as a result. A spokesperson for Bloomberg News said the Bloomberg Feed and Walter Bloomberg accounts have nothing to do with the international news agency.
The duty officer of the US Department of Defense denied the information about the explosion on the territory of the department. The Arlington Police Department (the city district where the Pentagon headquarters is located) issued a statement saying that no explosions or incidents occurred on or near the Department of Defense premises.
@PFPAOfficial and the ACFD are aware of a social media report circulating online about an explosion near the Pentagon. There is NO explosion or incident taking place at or near the Pentagon reservation, and there is no immediate danger or hazards to the public. pic.twitter.com/uznY0s7deL
— Arlington Fire & EMS (@ArlingtonVaFD) May 22, 2023
Nevertheless, after the publication of a fake photo created by artificial intelligence, the value of the 500 largest American companies fell immediately by $500 billion. The S&P 500 index fell 0.3% in a few minutes. But everything was restored after it became known that the picture was fake.