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Facebook CEO did not author tweet claiming Buhari ‘cannot think properly’

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A tweet says that Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari is suffering from ‘inability to think properly.’  This has gone viral on the social media, with propagators alleging that it originated from the verified Twitter account of  Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

This image was circulated amidst a ban placed on Twitter in Nigeria by Buhari.

Findings by the FactCheckHub showed that the image was manipulated and therefore false.

The manipulated image circulating on social media.
The manipulated image circulating on social media.

The Claim

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg tweeted that Buhari was suffering from an inability to think properly and might need medical check-up.

The Finding

The image under verification was presented to look like a screenshot of a tweet. It had the photo of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and was alleged to have been posted on June 4, 2021 at 10:42am. It has been retweeted 2.6 million times, with 3.7 million likes. The account is @MarkZuckerberg and it has the blue verification badge.

The tweet purportedly read, “The Nigerian President needs medical check-up; he may be suffering from the inability to think.”

Findings by the Factcheckhub showed that the account @MarkZuckerberg  was suspended for violating Twitter rules. When and why these happened could not be ascertained.

The suspended account.
The suspended account.
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However, the account is not Zuckerberg, the Facebook CEO’s handle. He is on Twitter as @Finkd.

Even though the account has been in existence since 2009, it is almost dormant. The last tweet was in 2012.

Secondly, he is not verified.

To determine whether it was the authentic account of Zuckerberg, the FactCheckHub conducted a Google Search, and multiple reports herehere and here made reference to @Finkd as his account.

One of the reports which talked about Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey unfollowing Zuckerberg cited this account.

In addition, Big Tech Alert, an account that keeps track of the activities of tech CEO’s and top executives, also has @Finkd on its list.

When Jack unfollowed the @finkd, Twitter public relations account replied the Big Tech Alert update with a goat emoji.

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Goat icon in social media speak is also used to represent the abbreviation for Greatest Of All Time [GOAT]. It is meant to refer to or describe the person who has performed better than anyone else ever in their field.

Twitter communication reacts to the update with a goat emoji.
Twitter communication reacts to the update with a goat emoji.

Furthermore, from the FactCheckHub audit of the followers of @Fnikd, it was discovered that Facebook follows the accounts of Slicon Valley bigwigs such as Youtube’s Chief Business officer Robert Kyncl; Lyft cco-founder, Gagan Biyani; Microsoft President, Brad Smith; Google and Alphabet CEO, Sundar Pichai, among others.

Facebook and tech bigwigs follow @Finkd on Twitter.
Facebook and tech bigwigs follow @Finkd on Twitter.

The lack of verification of the account may or may not be unconnected with the silent rift between the two tech bosses who have, over time, had difference of opinions on multiple fronts – from how to run their platforms to polices on political advertisements,  tackling of fake news and so on.

Jack reportedly said he did not use any Facebook product while Zuckerberg reportedly attempted to buy Twitter in 2008.

Background to the misinformation

On June 1, 2021, Buhari posted a Twitter thread after receiving a briefing from the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Mahmood Yakubu.

Yakubu had updated him on a series of attacks on electoral facilities across the country, particularly in the South-East region.

Some groups in the region, largely made up of Igbos, are agitating for secession, leading to series of conflicts which sometimes result in loss of lives and destruction of properties.

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In 1967, the same region had attempted to secede by forming Biafra. This led to 30-month-long civil war which Buhari, a retired military general, had fought in.

The war led to death and displacement of millions of persons.

In his response to the INEC boss, which was tweeted, Buhari referred to the civil war while talking of how insurrection would be dealt with. This sparked outrage, and the tweet was reported by multiple accounts. It was taken down by Twitter for violating its policies

This further led to the unfolding of several events, one of which was the ban on Twitter in the country. This has been described by those opposing it as unconstitutional.  Another is the avalanche of misinformation circulating on social media.

The Verdict

The claim that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg tweeted that President of Nigeria Muhammadu Buhari was suffering from ‘inability to think properly’ and might need medical check-up is FALSE. The image was manipulated and the account cited does not belong to Zuckerberg.

If you or someone you know has a lead, tip or personal experience about this report, our WhatsApp line is open and confidential for a conversation

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