Back to Africa Check

Yes, photo of Saudi king shaking hands with German chancellor heavily criticised in Nigeria

A news article widely shared on Facebook claims a Hausa-language post by another news organisation has been widely criticised in Nigeria for showing an unrelated man and woman shaking hands. 

The BBC Hausa post from 9 November 2020 shared a photo of Saudi Arabian King Salman shaking hands with German chancellor, Angela Merkel. 

Many Muslims believe shaking hands with someone of the opposite gender who is not your parent or sibling is not acceptable

The BBC Hausa post was captioned: “Sarki Salman ya jaddadawa Jamus muhimmancin fadar albarkacin baki, wanda ya ce bai kamata ya zama hanyar yada kiyayya ba.”

This roughly translates as: “King Salman reiterated the importance of freedom of expression, which he said doesn't have to be an avenue for promoting hatred.”

The post linked to an article on the BBC Hausa website.

The Sahara Reporters post and article reporting on the criticism of the BBC Hausa post has been flagged as possibly false by Facebook’s fact-checking system. But there is nothing incorrect in the article.  

Photo not recent

The BBC Hausa post drew thousands of angry reactions and over 1,700 comments, many of them critical of both the king and the news organisation.

A reverse image search reveals the photo is also not recent. It was shared as far back as 30 April 2017 by Saudi Arabian news organisation Al Arabiya English and shows when Merkel visited the king in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, in April 2017. – Africa Check


Republish our content for free

We believe that everyone needs the facts.

You can republish the text of this article free of charge, both online and in print. However, we ask that you pay attention to these simple guidelines. In a nutshell:

1. Do not include images, as in most cases we do not own the copyright.

2. Please do not edit the article.

3. Make sure you credit "Africa Check" in the byline and don't forget to mention that the article was originally published on

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

A fact-checker has rated your Facebook or Instagram post as “false”, “altered”, “partly false” or “missing context”. This could have serious consequences. What do you do?

Click on our guide for the steps you should follow.

Publishers guide

Africa Check teams up with Facebook

Africa Check is a partner in Meta'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.

Add new comment

Restricted HTML

  • Allowed HTML tags: <a href hreflang> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote cite> <code> <ul type> <ol start type> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <h2 id> <h3 id> <h4 id> <h5 id> <h6 id>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically.
limit: 600 characters

Want to keep reading our fact-checks?

We will never charge you for verified, reliable information. Help us keep it that way by supporting our work.

Become a newsletter subscriber

Support independent fact-checking in Africa.