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False, no evidence Russian President Putin said Africa is a cemetery for Africans

A meme with a photo of Russian President Vladimir Putin has been shared widely on Facebook across Africa since early October 2019.

“Russian President Vladimir Putin Challenges Africa”, the text reads. “Africa is just a cemetery for Africans.”

The meme is posted with a caption claiming that Putin was challenging Africa “with the bitter truth” and said: "Africa will never be independent, Africans believe in Europeans, Americans, and Chinese more than themselves.”

The post was flagged as possibly false by Facebook’s fact-checking system.

So did Putin say Africa is a cemetery for Africans? We investigated.



Meme has circulated before


The same claim was published on the news website the Zambian Observer earlier in 2019, and on Nigerian platforms such as Gist Mania and popular online forum Nairaland.

It was already being shared on Facebook in late 2018.

None of the versions of the story give any details about when or where Putin is meant to have said this. And no reputable news organisations have reported that Putin made any such statement. 

Hoax post about Pakistan altered


In November 2018, similar posts were circulated via Facebook and Twitter in Pakistan. But here the claim was that Putin called Pakistan “a cemetery for Pakistanis”. 

Indian fact-checking website Fact Crescendo reported that Putin never said that Pakistan is a cemetery for Pakistanis.

Africa Check could not find any evidence of this either. No credible news outlets reported the story. 

There is likewise no evidence that Putin made the same statement about Africa or Africans. – Butchie Seroto




 

For publishers: what to do if your post is rated false

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Click on our guide for the steps you should follow.

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Africa Check teams up with Facebook

Africa Check is a partner in Facebook’s third-party fact-checking programme to help stop the spread of false information on social media.

The content we rate as “false” will be downgraded on Facebook and Instagram. This means fewer people will see it.

You can also help identify false information on Facebook. This guide explains how.

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