By: Sam Doak
July 4 2023
This video predates the recent unrest in France. It appears to have originally been made as a joke.
Last Tuesday, on June 27, a teenager in France was killed after being shot by a police officer in the Parisian suburb Nanterre. In the days since, France has experienced widespread civil unrest, with protests and riots occurring nationwide.
As events in France unfolded, a video began to circulate showing what appeared to be a civilian holding a rifle on a rooftop. This was widely shared, with social media users claiming it depicted an armed participant in the riots. A post on Twitter that included the caption “Snipers spotted on French rooftop” was retweeted over 1,500 times and liked by more than 3,700 Twitter users.
While this video has been shared extensively on Twitter and TikTok recently, Logically has concluded that it predates the recent civil unrest in France by a significant amount of time.
Using google lens, Logically Facts was able to find versions of this video posted on TikTok during the same time period as the riots. Unlike the version that went viral on Twitter, this version is uncropped, which allows viewers to see the name of the Snapchat account it was taken from. While this account appears to be private, a search of the account’s name and the word “sniper” returns longer versions of the same video. These include the caption “sniper de la cité.” A search for this term reveals that a copy of this video was posted on Twitter as far back as March 13, 2022.
Context found in the longer version of the video in question suggests that it was created as a joke. The caption, added by the Snapchat user that uploaded it, contains multiple laughing emojis and references the popular video game franchise Call of Duty. Using geographical information included in the longer version of this video, Logically Facts geolocated it to a building in a suburb to the east of Paris. A search for local news concerning a gunman returned no results that matched the scene shown in the video, seemingly confirming that this was not a serious incident at the time.
In their coverage concerning this video, Newsweek determined that the item shown is not a real gun, stating that it is “a BB replica, not a real rifle.” The outlet states that this is evident as, “Key features are missing, such as a bolt arm (the manual device by which bolt ammunition is ejected) or an ammunition cartridge ejection port.”
This video was first shared more than a year before the recent unrest in France and appears to be humorous in intent. As other outlets have stated, the weapon shown does not appear to be genuine. Logically Facts could find no record of a sniper sighted at the location in which the video was recorded. This claim has therefore been marked as false.