Social Media Claim

Coal lobby video of wind turbine disaster is not real

A screengrab from The Australian Youth Coal Coalition’s Facebook post of a video allegedly showing wind turbines, which it claimed the government had forced a land owner to erect, breaking apart during a storm and scaring horses.

The Statement

AAP FactCheck examined a 17-second video posted on Facebook on February 23, 2019 by the Australian Youth Coal Coalition. The video shows a wind turbine breaking apart during a storm and crashing as three horses gallop away.

The caption on the post reads, “smh [shaking my head] this is so sad. Horses being terrified on a farm which the government forced the owner to put wind turbines on.”

The video has been viewed more than 10,000 times, has had over 200 shares and attracted more than 30 comments and almost 60 reactions.

The Analysis

The Australian Youth Coal Coalition is a counter-activist group to the Australian Youth Climate Coalition, which shares the same acronym AYCC.

The Australian Youth Coal Coalition has no official website. Its Facebook page states “we're building a generation-wide movement to solve the energy crisis. Our activism inspires young people to take a stand for cheap energy and prosperity”.

The same video was also posted on Facebook by What did I just see, which is listed as a personal blog dedicated to “finding the weird and wonderful shit on the Internet so you don't have to”. The video post on February 23, 2019 recorded almost 212,000 shares, 16,000 comments and 20,0000 reactions. The posts states “Bit windy today. Just so people know this video is fake sorry if I have spread ‘Fake News’.”

The website gallery of Amercian 3D animator and artist Travis Sattler (aka Yo Dojo) features the wind turbine video.

On March 2, 2019 the same video was also posted by UniLad Tech magazine, which shares “the latest Tech news, tips, hacks and cool stuff”. The UniLad Tech post poses the question: “Real or fake? Let us know below”.

In the comments UniLad Tech credits Amercian 3D animator and artist Travis Sattler as the creator stating: “All credit goes to: www.instagram.com/yo_dojo/”.

Mr Sattler goes by the name of Yo Dojo and his website states he creates motion graphics, Instagram content and stage visuals. The wind turbine video is on his website gallery.

Mr Sattler also posted the video on his instagram account on February 21, 2019, with the caption “DISATER STRIKES IN BAD AXE” (sic). The caption includes the hashtags #octanerender, which refers to a popular computer graphic art software, #cgi, meaning computer generated image, and #3drender.

Fact checking unit Snopes investigated the same video after it was shared on social media as being real and concluded it was “a computer-based rendering and not a video record of a genuine mishap”.

“It's amazing what can be produced with a computer and 3D-rendering software,” Snopes stated in its February 25, 2019 fact check under the headline ‘Was this Wind Turbine Destroyed During a Storm?’.

The Verdict

Based on this analysis, AAP FactCheck found the 17-second video posted on Facebook on February 23, 2019 by the Australian Youth Coal Coalition was computer-generated and the accompanying caption was false.

  • False - The video is not real and the caption is false.

First published on July 3, 2019 at 15:11 AEST