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Did the Eiffel Tower burn down?

The Eiffel Tower has become the subject of frenzied social media speculation after a TikTok video went viral apparently showing it engulfed in flames.

Rumours have been rife that the iconic iron landmark in Paris caught fire and may even have burnt down after the footage emerged this month.

The TikTok video has had more than three million views, sparking fears it was the end for the towering 19th-century monument.

Here are the rather less dramatic facts.

Are the rumours true?

No. The images are fake. The official website for the Eiffel Tower makes it clear it is still open to the public on 23 January 2024, with no mention of a fire or fire damage.

There is a temporary closure of the top of the tower from January 8 to February 9 for annual maintenance and renovation work on the summit and the lifts leading up to it. During this period, visits are only possible up to the second floor.

There is no report of a fire at the tower on the Paris police website. Neither is there a mention on city mayor Anne Hidalgo’s facebook account.

Livestreams of the tourist-friendly megastructure show it standing upright with no fire damage.

How did the rumours start?

Rumours of the blaze appear to have been sparked by the TikTok video. Many people, apparently convinced of its veracity, comment on it and share it on both TikTok and other platforms.

However, it has now emerged the video was generated by AI and many social media accounts sharing the images and footage have footnotes including this information.

It’s not the first time the tower has been the subject of a hoax. In August last year, a criminal investigation was launched after false bomb reports caused it to be evacuated twice.

The organisation which operates the Eiffel Tower has been approached by i for comment.

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