Video of high rise on fire is from UAE, not France

4 July 2023
What was claimed

A video of a burning building shows destruction during civil unrest in France.

Our verdict

The video was taken in the United Arab Emirates and shows a fire in a residential building.

A post on Twitter with over 3,000 shares claims to show a high rise building on fire, apparently in France. This follows riots in the country after a 17-year-old boy, Nahel M, was shot dead by a police officer in a Paris suburb.  

The same video has also been shared a number of times on Facebook, often alongside claims that social media and other forms of reporting are being censored by authorities.

Despite the French flags overlaid on the video, it actually depicts a fire at a residential building in Ajman in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) that happened on 27 June. Other videos and images from that event match the video being shared online, which appears to have been filmed from the street below.

According to news media coverage, there were no immediate reports of injuries and no fatalities.

We’ve seen several examples of falsely labelled content circulating online following the riots in France, including videos claiming to show that zoo animals have been let loose in Paris and a photo of a small fire near the Eiffel Tower that was taken during the 2016 European Championship final.

This type of online misinformation can spread very quickly and may create an inaccurate account of current events. It’s always worth checking if social media images and videos show what the post says they do before you share them—we have written guides on how to spot misleading videos and pictures, and another on AI images.

The post also claims: “Macron is pulling social media down & off the air. Total censorship and ban on all reporting in France”.

An image of a fake press release supposedly from the French Ministry of Interior and police saying that the internet would be turned off in certain areas has recently been shared on social media.

But the Ministry of the Interior clarified on Twitter that the document was fake and that no such decision had been made. The riots are being covered extensively by local and international media.

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