A video that went viral in October 2023 authentically showed climate activist Greta Thunberg calling for the use of "sustainable" war tanks and weaponry, such as "vegan grenades."
The video in question was a deepfake. In other words, genuine footage of Thunberg was digitally edited with fabricated audio to make it seem like she said these things.
In late October 2023, as the Israel-Hamas conflict raged on, a video of climate activist Greta Thunberg went viral in which she allegedly called for the use of "sustainable" war tanks and weaponry, such as "vegan grenades."
The rumor surfaced as Thunberg publicly expressed support for Palestinians in Gaza, spurring headlines such as Fox News' "Israel responds sharply to Greta Thunberg after 'Stand With Gaza' post."
According to the in-question video, she claimed:
War is always bad, specifically for the planet. If we want to continue fighting battles like environmentally conscious humans, we must make the change to sustainable tanks and weaponry. There are so many new concepts for battery powered fighter jets that can carry biodegradable missiles of course. Something literally everybody can do to stop this nonsense, is for example to block the roads to gardens and farms, so the plants don’t get overrun by these heavy heavy tanks. Hand grenades, very important. If you use hand grenades, please use vegan grenades. No animal should have to give their life for this mayhem and chaos. They have a special sticker on them. You really can’t miss them in the grenade market, or wherever you buy them. Yeah, I cover all this and more in my new book “Vegan Wars.”
Read her new book, Vegan Wars by Greta Thunberg
"if we want to continue fighting battles, like environmentally conscious humans, we must make the change to sustainable tanks."
"There are so many new concepts for battery powered fighter jets that can carry biodegradable… pic.twitter.com/yMMvpfLt7A
— Wall Street Silver (@WallStreetSilv) October 23, 2023
The video was a deepfake. In other words, genuine footage of Thunberg was digitally edited with fabricated audio to make it seem like she said these things. We knew the video was not authentic and a deepfake, in part, because Thunberg’s lips did not match what she was supposedly saying.
The deepfake video originated from the YouTube account Snicklink — which posts edited videos that are intended to be funny, most of which are satirical — and had a "SATIRE" graphic in its bottom-right corner. That original post by Sincklink captioned the video, "Greta Thunberg: VEGAN WARS #satire."
The deepfake video used genuine footage of Thunberg promoting her book "The Climate Book" on the BBC in November 2022. In that real interview, Thunberg talked about climate anxiety and her activism.
On Oct. 20, 2023, Thunberg posted a message on X (formally Twitter) calling for "solidarity with Palestine and Gaza" and for "an immediate ceasefire" in the Israel-Hamas war. The message included a photo of Thunberg holding a sign reading, "STAND WITH GAZA," alongside three other activists.
Responding to Thunberg, Israel's X account responded with the below-displayed tweet, and a spokesman for the Israeli army told POLITICO: "Whoever identifies with Greta in any way in the future, in my view, is a terror supporter."
.@GretaThunberg, Hamas doesn’t use sustainable materials for their rockets which have BUTCHERED innocent Israelis .
The victims of the Hamas massacre could have been your friends.
Speak up. https://t.co/giHNJxeF6N pic.twitter.com/Z4orsm2UjD
— Israel ישראל 🇮🇱 (@Israel) October 20, 2023
For background, here is why we sometimes write about satire/humor.
Evon, Dan. “How to Spot a Deepfake.” Snopes, 8 June 2022, https://www.snopes.com/articles/423004/how-to-spot-a-deepfake/.
"Greta Thunberg on How to Tackle Climate Anxiety." The One Show - BBC, Nov. 1, 2022. www.youtube.com, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pK_nBKtWyvk. Accessed 23 Oct. 2023.
"Greta Thunberg: VEGAN WARS #satire." Snicklink, Oct. 20, 2023. www.youtube.com, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kGsW0yLYao0. Accessed 23 Oct. 2023.
"Israel-Palestine: Gaza Death Toll Passes 5,000 with No Ceasefire in Sight." UN News. 23 Oct. 2023, https://news.un.org/en/story/2023/10/1142687.
“Thunberg Gets Backlash for Pro-Palestinian Post." DW, Oct. 21, 2023. Dw.Com, https://www.dw.com/en/greta-thunberg-faces-backlash-for-pro-palestinian-post/a-67172344. Accessed 23 Oct. 2023.
‘Israeli Official Slams Greta Thunberg after She Backs Palestinians in Gaza’. POLITICO, 20 Oct. 2023, https://www.politico.eu/article/greta-thunberg-calls-global-pro-palestinian-strike-gaza-genocide-israel-slam/.