Firework drone 'false news' says Instagram star Lucas Albert

By Tom Gerken
BBC UGC & Social News

image copyrightLucas Albert/Instagram
image captionThe moment a firework was 'fired' from the drone

You may have seen a video being shared online claiming to show a man "getting revenge on his neighbours" by shooting fireworks at them from a drone.

If you thought it was real, you are in good company.

The video was shared widely on Twitter, where it has been viewed more than a million times.

But there is a problem: The video does not show a man getting revenge on his neighbours. It is all a prank designed to get clicks.

Here is the video as it originally featured on Brazilian influencer Lucas Albert's Instagram page:

Mr Albert, who has two million followers on Instagram, told the BBC the video is not real, and explained he planned the stunt with friends.

"Many people know me," he said, "and know that I edit all the videos that I post."

Mr Albert is known for his pranks and stunts on social media. For example, in one video viewed more than 700,000 times he pretends to have a heart attack in a shopping centre to scare a stranger.

Mr Albert explained Portuguese-language newspapers in Brazil shared the story as though it was real, which prompted it to be picked up by English-language outlets.

"Some newspapers took the video and spread false news," he said, "saying that it was in another city and it was a neighbour enraged by the noise."

Mr Albert gave the BBC a peek behind the curtain by sharing a picture taken by a drone of himself and the fleeing "loud neighbours".

image copyrightLucas Albert

The Portuguese-language news website Jornal de Brasilia initially shared the video on Monday with the claim a neighbour was trying to disperse a loud party.

On the same day the video was posted on news aggregator website Digg, citing Jornal de Brasilia as its source, where it has now been viewed more than six million times.

Soon after publication, Jornal de Brasilia updated the story with the term "#EFAKE!" ("Is fake!") prominently displayed and to say the video was filmed by an influencer.

But by then it was too late, as it had been picked up by English-language social media, with one Twitter post liked more than 38,000 times.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter

The video was also uploaded to YouTube, where it has been viewed more than 700,000 times, and from there posted to Reddit, where it has been upvoted more than 32,000 times.

By this point the video had become so far-removed from its original source that on all three of these social media posts there are almost no questions of the video's authenticity.

This is how fake news spreads.

Various English-language news websites worldwide have written articles about the aggrieved neighbour who was supposedly using a drone to break up a party. Perth Now, India Today, and Republic World are among those to have featured the prank on their website.

And the video was still being uploaded to social media on Thursday, either with the wrong context or with no indication it was staged.

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