The footage garnered more than one million views online.
A viral video of a drone surfer carrying Saudi Arabia’s flag was not filmed in Qatar and was from a 2019 football tournament in the kingdom, AFP Fact Check confirmed on Thursday, debunking social media claims.
The footage showed a man riding a drone while waving the Saudi flag above a pitch, and garnered more than one million views after it was widely circulated on social media. One Facebook account that shared it on 22 November last year received 1.4 million views alone.
The accounts that shared the video claimed it was filmed in Qatar during the 2022 FIFA World Cup, though it is actually believed to have been shot in May 2019 in Saudi Arabia during the King’s Cup football tournament.
One Urdu account that shared the video falsely claimed the flag was waved in the sky during the major football event in Doha as “a message to the whole world that only this flag will fly the highest in the Islamic world.”
The flag was tied to Islam as it displays the Muslim proclamation of faith, or the shahada. The shahada states “There is no God but Allah and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.”
After conducting a reverse search, AFP matched it with a 2 May 2019 tweet shared by Saudi sports account Dawri Plus, confirming the video was from the King’s Cup.
A screenshot of the video also matched with a video posted on YouTube on 3 May the same year by UAE-based Abu Dhabi Sports.
Similarly, Indian fact-checking website FactCrescendo was able to verify that the video was not shot in Doha.