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Video of Donald Trump endorsing Nigerian presidential candidate is fake

Nigeria held presidential elections on 23 February 2019. Two days before, on 21 February, a video was posted on Facebook.

“Breaking news from Capitol Hill, Washington DC: United State President Donald Trump has officially endorsed Alh Atiku Abubakar as the incoming president of Nigeria” it says.

The video shows Trump signing a document in a folder. He then holds it up to show his signature on a political advert for Abubakar’s PDP party. The people behind Trump cheer. The video has been viewed some 51,000 times and has 3,500 shares.

But it’s fake. It’s a variation of a longstanding meme that’s been doing the rounds since Trump took office in 2016.

In fact, an entire Twitter account has been dedicated to poking fun at the US president by altering genuine videos of him signing executive orders. Here you can see videos of Trump wishing Americans a “happee new year” and asking citizens to “VOTE pleeze”.  

How to check if a video has been manipulated

In the age of fake news it’s more important than ever to verify the information we receive. Video-altering apps can make this trickier. But there are ways to check if a video has been manipulated.

InVID helps verify videos on social media. Simply right-click on a video, copy the URL and paste it into the InVID search tool to check if it’s been altered.

Video of Trump signing executive order on health

Our search for this video didn’t produce any InVID results so we moved on to the trusty reverse image search. By taking a screenshot of a frame in the video and searching TinEye for the image, we found a visually similar picture from 2017.

Here you see Trump sitting at the same desk with the same people behind him, only the document he has signed is an executive order to “promote health care choice and competition” in the US. The PDP ad isn’t there.

First Draft News, an organisation that works to challenge mis- and disinformation in the digital age, has produced a number of checklists to help people verify images and videos.

If you have doubts about a video, ask yourself: Is this the original version? And when was it filmed? - Africa Check (26/02/19)


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