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Fake tweets claim US president Trump threatened Nigeria ‘for supporting Iran’

Messages circulating on Whatsapp and Facebook in early January 2020 claimed US president Donald Trump had accused Nigeria of supporting Iran and ordered attacks on the West African country.

First was what appeared to be a screenshot of a tweet by Trump announcing “reports” of Nigeria’s supposed support for Iran, posted on both Facebook and WhatsApp in Nigeria.

“We have reports of NIGERIA supporting Iran ACTIVELY and PASSIVELY….just got of the phone with secretary Pompeo….the USA MUST and WILL respond to terrorist nations IMMEDIATELY!” it reads.

Hints tweet is fake

The date of the tweet in the screenshot is 8 January 2020. But it can’t be found on Trump’s Twitter timeline

Trump only tweeted once on 8 January, saying “All is well” after Iran launched missiles at two US military bases in Iraq.

And the screenshot shows two sets of comments, retweets and likes. 

When you view a tweet on your own Twitter feed or on someone’s timeline, you see only the symbols for comments, retweets and likes – and the numbers are only given in thousands.

When you open a tweet, the words “retweets” and “likes” – and the numbers – are given in full.

You do not see both on the same screen. 

Also missing from the screenshot is a description of the device or app from which the tweet was sent. When Trump tweets, “Twitter for iPhone” is usually shown next to the date, which shows that the president is using Twitter on his mobile. 

Lastly, the “follow” button shown in the screenshot doesn’t appear in a real open tweet.  

Dozens of missiles to Nigerian cities?

Another supposed screenshot of a Trump tweet, which gets these elements correct and looks real, was also posted on Facebook on 8 January.

“In two days from today I have ordered the Military defense and personnel’s to launch 12 dozens of missiles to the Nigerian major cities and economy driven areas. 31 zones and major areas has been targeted including its FCT, Abuja. This will serve as a lesson to the other countries trying to support a crime nation like the Iran,” the supposed tweet reads. It was posted with the comment: “Nigeria in trouble.” 

While Trump’s tweets are at times ungrammatical, this message is particularly poorly written. But more tellingly, it is 49 characters longer than a tweet can be - and does not truncate as it would if a third party application was used to make it longer than Twitter’s 280 character limit. It is also fake. 

There is no evidence that Trump has ordered military action against Nigeria, in any reputable news source or on Twitter. – Africa Check


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