Photo: Screenshot made by fact-checkers
The viral video with the alleged error on the billboard аmidst Times Square in New York with the inscription “Glory to Urine” instead of “Glory to Ukraine” is a complete lie and disinformation released to tarnish the reputation of Ukraine and President Volodymyr Zelenskyy as well as the host country. Unfortunately, many Macedonian language media – without checking – published this disinformation on both their websites and social networks pages, writes Truthmeter.mk.
Under the content-sharing agreement between Truthmeter.mk and Meta.mk, we republish the text below:
We are fact-checking a post on the social network Facebook (screenshot here), saying that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy was greeted in the UN with a big gaffe – “Glory to Urine”. This is disinformation, i.e., deepfake.
The post states the following:
“Glory to Urine” instead of “Glory to Ukraine” – Zelenskyy greeted in the UN with a big gaffe (VIDEO)
The text linked in the post says the following:
While Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelenskyy and his American counterpart are deciding to jointly manufacture weapons, while the world is listening to addresses of global politicians in the United Nations, a billboard on the very streets of New York stole their glory.
This unbelievable blunder in the form of a greeting message was made in the middle of New York. Namely, the enormous digital billboard displayed “Glory to Urine” instead of “Glory to Ukraine”.
The billboard management company explained that the error was made by an intelligent automatic system self-correcting the word “Ukraine” into a similar form – “urine” – specifies the text of the news.
The post also shares a video from the digital billboard on Times Square.
The video, however, is the basis of this piece of news, and is, in fact, fake. That discovery was made the same day by the investigative reporter Ben Collins from the American public service NBC News. The same day the video appeared on the X-network, former Twitter, on 21st September. Collins visited the same corner of the street and published a live video showing that the clip of the New York background was abused for fabricating the deep fake “Glory to Urine”, which did not correspond with the current look of Times Square.
In Collins’ video, he is ironically praising the “ingenuity of American construction workers” by stressing that, according to the viral video, several visible construction scaffolding miraculously changed in just a few hours.
You know, it said “Glory to Urine” this morning and all the scaffolding was there and all that stuff was different, stated Collins in the video. Now, it’s all gone and they put in two entirely new businesses… all today. So, really good work America. I’m very proud of us, says Collins.
Markian Kyzmowycz, Microsoft’s digital threat analyst, also tweeted about his visit to the same corner of the street where he took photographs and recorded a video, again showing that the person or the people who produced the deep fake were using an old New York clip to serve as a background of a digitally mastered elements of the billboard “Glory to Urine”.
Microsoft’s analyst says that the video is completely altered and not remotely recent. It never happened in Times Square, Kyzmowycz quotes the words of Insiderpaper.com.
He questioned the ad’s authenticity based on his observation of the absence of scaffolding at the intersection of 42nd/8th in Times Square. The scaffolding in question was dismantled several months ago.
It is not quite clear when the original video was recorded with the background of New York and the fabricated message “Glory to Urine”, nor is it clear where the video was published for the first time. Some of the posts suggest that maybe the video appeared for the first time on the Russian websites as means of advancing the propaganda while the Russian invasion of Ukraine continues, state the fact-checkers from Snopes.com.
This is just another deepfake. This billboard has never displayed such a message regardless of the fact that many social network users are trying to deceive citizens in making them believe that it happened, stated political reporter Ed Krassenstein. The message “Glory to Urine” displayed on the digital billboard in New York instead of “Glory to Ukraine” is not real. The clip shared is fabricated, Live Breaking News reported, as well. The fake video was also analyzed by the fact-checkers of Daily Kos and Reddit.
Unlike American media, some of the Macedonian language media outlets had no problem in publishing and re-publishing this completely deepfake, thereby posting it on their websites which can be seen from the aggregated news on Time.mk, and still present on their Facebook accounts as can be noted on the links here and here.
To conclude, the designed imaginary video was fabricated for the purpose of humiliating Ukraine’s President Zelenskyy. Hence, due to the stated facts, this post is assessed as disinformation.