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Don't Trust the 'Live' Space Videos You See on Facebook

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The Earth isn’t flat. The moon landing wasn’t bogus. And that “live” video of the International Space Station you might have seen floating around this morning on Facebook certainly wasn’t real.

As Mashable reports, several frequently trafficked Facebook pages, including Unilad and Viral USA, posted “live” videos this morning purporting to show video feeds from the International Space Station.


Trouble is, the videos weren’t actually live, because according to a spokeswoman, NASA didn’t have a live feed set up today.


“While the agency provides live views from exterior space station cameras through the ISS HD Earth Viewing Experiment, there has been no activity outside the space station since the Orbital ATK Cygnus cargo spacecraft arrived to the orbital laboratory on Sunday,” the spokeswoman explained in an email to Gizmodo. She added that the next major event, the Expedition 49 crew return, is scheduled for Saturday.

Despite this, the videos went far and wide. As of this afternoon, Unilad’s video had 17 million views, and Viral USA’s had 26 million. Strangely, Unilad even tagged ISS in the post, though no trace of the “live” feed can be found anywhere near it.

Mashable notes that Unilad’s feed looks suspiciously similar to this one from 2013:

The show hasn’t stopped, either. Viral USA is still going:


Of course, posting fake things on the internet happens all the time, so this isn’t necessarily shocking. But Unilad, at least, is a fairly well-established presence with more than 20 million followers on Facebook. So it’s a little strange if the page thought it could get away with the fraud. We’ve reached out to Unilad and Viral USA, and we’ll update if we get a response.

Update 10/27/16: Unilad told the BBC they posted the stream in order to “test the capabilities of what the ‘live broadcast’ feature on Facebook could really do.” Cool!