Footage of a missile hitting Beirut

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Early reports of the explosion in Beirut's port began circulating on social media moments after the blast.

Whilst most of the videos appeared authentic, filmed by residents from their homes, rumours about the cause of the blast were also quickly shared on platforms such as Twitter and WhatsApp.

So, what misinformation spread online?

From fireworks to nuclear bombs
The videos circulating showed smaller explosions and an initial fire followed by the huge blast, which led to tweets suggesting it had happened at a firework factory.

Claims about fireworks seemed plausible at the time, but other viral tweets suggested the event was caused by a nuclear bomb because of the white mushroom-like cloud seen rising in some of the footage.

A now-deleted tweet suggesting the explosion was "atomic" was shared by a verified Twitter account with over 100,000 followers and racked up thousands of shares and likes.
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