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No, Kenya's Citizen TV didn't report that governor of Kisumu county Anyang' Nyong'o revealed his HIV status

IN SHORT: A short-lived decision by Twitter to remove verification badges left many media organisations vulnerable to impersonation, before the policy was partly reversed. One of the victims was Kenya’s Citizen TV.

Did Kenya's mainstream channel Citizen TV report on the HIV status of Kisumu governor Anyang' Nyong'o?

On 22 April 2022, posts apparently from Citizen TV, the country's most-watched television station, began making the rounds on Facebook and Twitter.

They read: “‘I am HIV positive’ Reveals Kisumu Governor Anyan’g Nyong’o.”

The posts feature a photo of Nyong'o apparently giving a speech.

Human immunodeficiency virus, or HIV, is a virus that attacks the body's immune system. It is spread from the body fluids of an infected person. If left untreated, HIV can develop into acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, or Aids, the most advanced stage of the disease.

In the past, Nyong’o has been the victim of several rumours about his health.

In 2010, the media reported that he was undergoing treatment for prostate cancer, but he has never confirmed any other illness.

The claim that Nyong’o has said he is HIV-positive has also been published here and here. So did Citizen TV report the same? We checked.


Parody account

The first post was published on an account  that mimicked the official Citizen TV account.

But while Citizen TV has more than six million followers and was created in August 2009, the account that tweeted about Nyong’o was created in December 2022 and has only around 11,500 followers.

The description of the fake account is “Official Citizen Parody Account-Uniting All Kenyans”. 

However, reposts of the claim don’t indicate that the source is a parody account.

Several posts were published and widely shared on social media after Twitter removed the blue verification badges from profiles that did not subscribe to its Twitter Blue service. To get the blue badge, you have to pay a monthly fee of US$8.

Citizen TV was one of the profiles that lost its blue verification badge.

However, Twitter has since restored the blue badge to accounts with more than one million followers, without charging for the subscription.

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