Months-old video clips showing rocks giving off electric charges continue to circulate virally even though the claim has been debunked
A hoax that has been circulating online for months and that has been debunked around the world was recently also sent to Namibia Fact Check via WhatsApp to verify.
It’s the hoax about electricity-charged stones apparently having been found in the Democratic Republic of Congo and involves two video clips – one of people connecting wires to a stone and powering a light bulb and another of two rocks being touched against each other causing electric sparks to fly.
The video clips were accompanied by the statement:
“Electrically charged stones discovered in the Democratic Republic of Congo, now more trouble coming for Africa.”
The message above was what was received by Namibia Fact Check in mid-March 2023, two months since the hoax had first gone viral in January 2023.
The clips are the same as those from a Youtube video, titled ‘Stone that emits electricity in the DRC (#Congo) is discovered (#Manono #lithium) information’, that was posted on 25 November 2022 on a channel called AFRICA&THE WORLD. This appears to be one of the earliest appearances of the hoax. The Youtube video has been watched over 27,000 times and has attracted almost 200 comments, some of which point out the hoax, but most seeming to believe that the discovery of the electricity-charged rocks really happened.
PolitiFact reported on 26 January 2023 that one of the two videos was first spotted in November 2022 on the Mohammed First University in Morocco Facebook page by the BBC. It was captioned as “Lithium!!?” and other posts that followed also captioned it as either being about lithium or lithium spodumene.
Namibia Fact Check has established that no such discovery has been announced by any credible sources and that debunks over recent months have rated the claim of the existence of electricity-bearing rocks as false.
Geologists who have been interviewed by various fact checkers point out that although minerals in rocks conduct electricity, rocks cannot generate or store electricity.
Social media users would have come across a number of fact checks of the electric stones discovery hoax if they had simply Googled a term such as ‘congo electric stones’.