Last week’s social media disinformation trend was relatively low. There was no major controversial and disinformation content on the social and mainstream media during the week.
However, here are some of the controversial and false claims tracked by HaqCheck last week.
Captured Italian soldiers
HaqCheck came across an image-backed post on Facebook on May 3, that claims the picture in the post shows Italian soldiers who surrendered to the Ethiopian army in the battle of Adwa thirteen decades ago.
The image portrays a black soldier guarding a group of white soldiers.
The Facebook post was viral and was shared over three hundred times.
The post was made two days before the 81st commemoration of the Ethiopian Patriots Day celebrated on May 5, 2022. The day marks the end of the secons Italian invasion of Ethiopia and the arrival of Emperor Haile Selassie from exile in Addis Ababa on May 5, 1941.
However, HaqCheck interrogated and confirmed that the image doesn’t prove the claim. It doesn’t show Italian troops who surrendered to Ethiopians in the battle. The same image was also fact-checked by HaqCheck last year.
Our fact-checking revealed that the image, taken in April 1945 was published on various sites including Encyclopedia. The sites state that the image shows a black American soldier of the 12th Armored Division guarding over a group of Nazi war prisoners captured in a forest in Germany during WWII. Therefore, HaqCheck rendered the claim FALSE due to the usage of an inaccurate image.
OFC’s controversial claim that Fano burned mosques in Fnote Selam
The Oromo Federalist Congress issued a press statement last week on May 1, 2022, and reported that Fano, (an Amhara volunteer youth militia) burned mosques in Finote Selam, a town in the West Gojjam Zone of Amhara regional state.
Finote Selam: the first version of the OFC statement
Debark: an edited version of OFC’s statement
The claim by the political party that Fano recently burned mosques in the town of Finote Selam was followed by a counterclaim that refutes the information was false.
The Amhara regional communications office published a social media article and announced the claim by OFC was not true. The communication office reported that it contacted the deputy Imam of the Selam Mosque in the town and confirmed the claim was false.
A few minutes later after the statement was released by Amhara Communications, OFC edited the press release and changed the name of the place from Finote Selam to Debark. Anyone can check the editing history of the press statement on Facebook.
HaqCheck recommends social media users cross-check information they come across on social media platforms before they react or share it with others. They should be cautious of claims and counterclaims on social media.
They should also look for editing histories of social media posts, particularly on Facebook. It is advised to read the whole information to sort out what exactly is the claim when they see posts.
We urge social media users and other entities to look for fact-checks done by fact-checking outlets.
Political parties and figures are urged to be responsible and abstain from disseminating false information. The government should also open up information access to the media and the public and give timely and sufficient information to prevent or reduce tendencies of disinformation.