The trend of social media disinformation dissemination has exceptionally decreased since the Ethiopian federal government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) signed a peace agreement at the beginning of this month.
The belligerents signed a peace deal dubbed ‘Agreement for lasting peace through a permanent cessation of hostilities between the Government of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF)’ on Nov 2, 2022. According to the agreement, TPLF agreed to disarm and a transitional government to be installed in Mekelle until a regional election is conducted.
The attention that had been given to the armed conflict between the TPLF and the Ethiopian government seems to shift to other issues such as the insurgency in the Oromia regional state.
HaqCheck tracked and debunked a few false social media posts in the first two weeks of November.
A false image representation of a palace being built in Addis Ababa
On November 1, 2022, a Facebook page shared a picture claiming it shows a new palace being built in the capital. However, the image was taken from another place and doesn’t show the new palace that is under construction.
The construction of a new palace under the name of ‘Chaka Project’ recently started with around one billion US dollars. Prime Minister Abiy also confirmed the launch of the project and said it is a satellite town.
However, HaqCheck confirmed that the image doesn’t show the new palace currently under construction. Thus, the post was rated False.
Therefore, HaqCheck rated the post False due to its usage of an inaccurate image.
Aerial attack in Wollega, Oromia
A Twitter account with over a thousand followers shared two pictures and a cartoon image on Nov 8, 2022, claiming that the images show a recent aerial strike in the town of Mendi, in Wallagga, Oromia. The tweet was shared many times and got close to two hundred reactions on the platform.
However, HaqCheck cross-checked the images and confirmed that the images don’t support the claim.
The first picture was taken from a Facebook post made on Jan 18, 2020. The post claimed that it shows a Uzbekistani fighter jet conducting an exercise.
But, HaqCheck could not verify whether the second picture is old or new. The picture is taken from a video clip that was recently circulating on Twitter.
Therefore, HaqCheck rated the Twitter post Partly False due to its usage of an inaccurate image.
We recommend social media users be skeptical and look for additional sources for controversial information they encounter. They should cross-check unconfirmed claims and look for original sources of the information.
HaqCheck urges the Ethiopian federal government and the TPLF to give updates regarding the talks ongoing to implement the peace deal. They should provide regular joint and unilateral briefings on ongoing issues related to the implementation of the agreement.
The government and other relevant bodies are recommended to ensure full access to information for the sake of the common good.