Fact-check: Child kidnapping video viral on WhatsApp is scripted – Alt News

A 30-second video showing three men haggling over money and apparently unconscious children lying around them is viral with the claim that the clip is yet another incident of child-kidnapping. The person recording the incident can be heard pointing out that the men are kidnapping children. Alt News has received multiple requests on its WhatsApp helpline (76000 11160) to verify the authenticity of the viral video.

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The video has been shared on Facebook with the claim that it is real.

The video has also been shared on Twitter with the same claim.


Upon reverse image searching key-frames of the video, Alt News found a longer version of the video on Facebook, shared by user Gafoor Ibrahim on June 30, 2022. His post was shared almost 10,000 times. The viral clip can be seen from 2:03 in this video.

School കുട്ടികളെ തട്ടി കൊണ്ട് പോയി അവയങ്ങൾ എടുത്ത് വിലപ്പന നടത്തുന്ന സംഘം

Posted by Gafoor Ibrahim on Thursday, 30 June 2022

Upon closer inspection, it can be seen that at the 0:30-mark in this video, a text-box appears at the bottom of the video, which reads, “Please read the video disclaimer carefully. This is not a real incident”. However, the Hindi part of the disclaimer reads, “यह वीडियो बहुत ही रिस्क लेकर बनाया गया है, ज्यादा से ज्यादा शेयर करे” (Translation: The making of the video was very risky, please share as much as possible). It does not mention that the video is scripted. Hence, only English readers can understand that the video is a work of fiction. Those who read only the Hindi disclaimer can easily be misled.

Again, at 1:27, the disclaimer at the bottom of the video reads, “This video is a complete fiction, all events in the video are scripted and made for awareness purpose”. Additionally, it states that the video has “nothing to do with any real incident” and that all the “characters/persons shown in the video are playing their roles”.

There are also certain observations that can be made after a thorough inspection of the video. These are not uncommon in other scripted videos.

  • Firstly, the videographer being present right at the scene of the crime, which is in a forest, with a camera cannot be a coincidence. Moreover, the fact that he didn’t call for immediate help after discovering the kidnapped children, and instead kept narrating the chain of events in a dramatic manner also raises suspicion.
  • Secondly, at the beginning of the video, when the bags are being carried into the jungle, the videographer dramatically narrates the chain of events, even though he is not supposed to know what the contents of the bag are.
  • Thirdly, at around the 1:16-mark in the video, the videographer positions himself quite close to the ‘kidnappers’ and continues to narrate the events in a fairly loud voice. Yet, the men are completely unaware of his presence.

Moreover, the reader might notice that the text of the disclaimer reads, “The video is a complete fiction….” which is grammatically incorrect. We looked up this text on Google and found that similar disclaimers starting with this exact phrase have been used in several other scripted videos as well.

For instance, a similar video of child kidnapping was believed to be true in the past. It was subsequently debunked. This video also contains a disclaimer which starts with “The video is a complete fiction….”. The disclaimer is quite similar to the one seen in the viral video.

Hence it is clear that a staged video was shared on social media with the claim that it is real. Apart from having a disclaimer declaring that the events in the video are fictitious, there are several other elements in the clip that can commonly be seen in scripted videos. Alt News has, in the past, debunked several such staged videos and child kidnapping claims on social media.

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