4 December 2023

Misleading: Video shows 2020 US Navy expedition, not Pelosi being escorted to Taiwan

The video shows a military exercise called Valiant Shield in the South China Sea in 2020.

On Aug. 3, a tweet shared a video showing a fleet of U.S. Navy warships and fighter jets flying in the sky, claiming that U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was escorted by them when she visited Taiwan on the previous day. The tweet received 771 likes and 204 retweets at the time of writing.

The same video with similar claims was also shared by other Twitter users (here and here) including Chaudhary Parvez, who describes himself as a journalist in his profile and has the blue Verified badge. This video was also posted on Facebook, Reddit, and YouTube.

However, the video does not show what these posts claim.

Annie Lab found a version of the same video clip posted on TikTok more than a year ago on April 15, 2021.

The TikTok user, named Anton Leonardes, seems to be a U.S. navy pilot, according to his social media profiles and media interviews he did when he was raising money for his family and friends in Ukraine. Leonardes also uploaded the same clip on YouTube Shorts on July 5, 2021.

Although it was uploaded in 2021, this U.S. Navy expedition video actually shows a military exercise in September 2020.

The Defense Visual Information Distribution Service, the official news channel about U.S. military operations, shared another video clip that depicts the same event called the Valiant Shield training exercise in the South China Sea, also known as the West Philippine Sea.

According to USNI News, the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan was among the vessels that had been deployed.

The Associated Press and USA Today reported they have gotten confirmation from the U.S. Navy that the video in the misleading tweet showed the Valiant Shield training exercise in 2020.

Similar claims have been fact-checked by Boom Live, Reuters Fact Check, MyGoPen, Alt News, Doğruluk Payı, Newschecker, Polígrafo, and Malumatfuruş.