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No evidence Trump, Ramaphosa had war of words on Twitter

A screenshot claiming to show a terse Twitter exchange between South African President Cyril Ramaphosa and US President Donald Trump has been repeatedly flagged on Facebook with many users who share it treating it as fact. 

The image shows a tweet from Trump about South African farm attacks that have regularly hit the headlines.

“I have asked Secretary of State @SecPompeo to closely study the South Africa Land and farm seizures and expropriations and the large scale killing of farmers. South African Government is now seizing land from white farmers. @TuckerCarlson @FoxNews,” is “Trump’s” tweet.

The reply allegedly from Ramaphosa inverts Trump’s: “I have asked Police Minister @GenBheki_Cele to closely study the USA mass shootings and large killings of unarmed civilians. USA Government is now killing unarmed African Americans. @realDonaldTrump @FoxNews #FloridaShooting.”

While online exchanges between high-profile figures are common, sometimes screenshots are fabricated. Did the two presidents really cross swords on twitter? We checked.



Parody account, not South African president


Trump’s tweet was from his official Twitter account, where it is still available. 

We searched for the reply captured in the screenshot from Ramaphosa but could not find it. 

We were unable to establish the exact Twitter account. The screenshot appears to have been taken within 20 seconds after the tweet was posted. The account name on the screenshot is “President Cyril Ramaphosa” but the Twitter handle is hidden.

We searched Twitter for the account name “President Cyril Ramaphosa” and found two accounts, although one account had a cake emoji between “Cyril” and “Ramaphosa”, while the other one was an exact match.

The one that matched exactly is a parody account

NOT President of the African National Congress. Clearly a parody,” the bio says.

But we could also not find the tweet captured in the screenshot on the timeline of this parody account. 

We further searched Twitter using the text of the reply to Trump. The only result we found was a tweet quoting a twitter handle “@cameronoor1”. But this account has been suspended for violation of Twitter rules. The original tweet is unavailable, but the one quoting it tags the same people.

Ramaphosa’s verified official account is simply “Cyril Ramaphosa”, and the reply to Trump is clearly not from this account. 

While it seems someone tweeted the response to Trump under the name Cyril Ramaphosa, it was not the president of South Africa. 

Further, such an extraordinary exchange would surely have been widely reported in the media. We found no evidence to this either. Grace Gichuhi

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