Video shows NYC’s Union Square in disarray after messy giveaway, not everyday scenes

By: Nikolaj Kristensen
September 5 2023

Share Article: facebook logo twitter logo linkedin logo
Video shows NYC’s Union Square in disarray after messy giveaway, not everyday scenes


The Verdict Misleading

The video shows the aftermath of a giveaway event that descended into chaos. It does not accurately depict everyday life in Manhattan’s Union Square.

Claim ID a6da7390


A video of what appears to be a New York City square covered in trash, with knocked-over garbage cans and traffic cones, is circulating on TikTok and X (formerly Twitter), with claims suggesting that the video depicts scenes of everyday life in New York City. 

“New York🇺🇸 looking worse than a third world country. This is ‘Build Back Better’. Welcome to Biden’s America,” reads one post with the video that has amassed 4.8 million views. “The globalists destroyed western civilization before we even knew it was happening,” reads another. 

However, the video shows the aftermath of a recent giveaway event that went awry. 

In fact 

The video appears to have been originally uploaded to TikTok on August 4, 2023, with the caption “Disturbios en New York” - ‘riots in New York.’ Logically Facts geolocated the video to the south end of Manhattan’s Union Square. 

Images from Google’s Street View function and Instagram show the square as a generally tidy place. 

However, on the day that the aforementioned TikTok video was uploaded, unusual events had unfolded in Union Square. Popular Twitch streamer Kai Cenat announced a giveaway event at the site, causing thousands of people to gather. Mayhem ensued, with some incidents of violence and several arrests.
According to the BBC, the chief of the New York Police Department, Jeffrey Maddrey, said that individuals were throwing fireworks at the police and at each other. The police took Kai Cenat into custody as he did not have a permit for the event. 

The verdict

The TikTok video of New York streets covered in trash does not accurately depict everyday scenes at Manhattan’s Union Square. The scenes followed a giveaway event that had descended into chaos. Therefore, we have marked this claim as misleading.

Would you like to submit a claim to fact-check or contact our editorial team?

Global Fact-Checks Completed

We rely on information to make meaningful decisions that affect our lives, but the nature of the internet means that misinformation reaches more people faster than ever before