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Video does not show Hurricane Hanna leveling border wall

July 27, 2020 GMT

CLAIM: Video shows Hurricane Hanna knocking down Trump’s border wall.

AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. The video does show heavy winds knocking down a section of border wall being built under the administration of President Donald Trump, but it was not taken as Hurricane Hanna passed over Texas this weekend.  

THE FACTS: A video circulating on social media that shows heavy winds knocking down sections of border wall was taken in June in New Mexico. It is being shared on social media falsely identified as showing a section of wall in South Texas, blown down as Hurricane Hanna hit.

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“U.S. Customs and Border Protection is not aware of any border wall panels falling over due to Hurricane Hanna hitting the Rio Grande Valley Sector this past weekend,” reads a statement emailed to The Associated Press by agency spokesperson Roderick Kise. “The video circulating on social media appears to be from June 2020 when high winds caused several border wall panels that were pending additional anchoring to fall over at a construction site near Deming, New Mexico.”

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is overseeing the ongoing wall construction south of Deming, including the section of wall featured in the video. Raini Brunson, a Corps spokesperson, confirmed the details about the video, but had no information about who filmed the footage.

“The incident involving the unexpected high wind gust, which knocked over the barrier panels, occurred on June 5th,” Brunson wrote in an email. 

Brunson said after the wall panels blew down, “the contractor revised its barrier panel-bracing procedures and work has continued on the project without further incident.” 

A day after Hurricane Hanna pelted the Texas Gulf Coast, social media users in both the United States and Mexico began sharing tweets erroneously claiming the video showed the hurricane damaging the border wall between Texas, and the northern state of Tamaulipas in Mexico. One such video on Twitter had been viewed more than 200,000 times by Monday afternoon.  A similar video on YouTube labeled, “Hurricane Hanna knocks down Trump’s Border Wall,” had received more than 40,000 views.

A number of news outlets on both sides of the border reported on the viral video and repeated the claim that it showed Hurricane Hanna damage.

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Hanna, which has been downgraded to a tropical storm, on Sunday drenched parts of South Texas with at least 12 inches of rain, flooded streets, destroyed boats and knocked out power.

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This is part of The Associated Press’ ongoing effort to fact-check misinformation that is shared widely online, including work with Facebook to identify and reduce the circulation of false stories on the platform.

Here’s more information on Facebook’s fact-checking program: https://www.facebook.com/help/1952307158131536