CNN reports ‘false’ Covid-19 cases in Nigeria? No, screenshot manipulated

“False Covid-19 cases in Nigeria,” reads text on what seems to be a screenshot of a CNN news report, posted on Facebook. It adds: “Nigerian govt accused of taking advantage of the pandemic.”

The screen shows CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer interviewing New York mayor Bill de Blasio.

Text above the screenshot reads: “Covid-19 cases in Nigeria are false because the government is taking advantage of it to embezzle, launder money and enrich itself.”

Did CNN broadcast this news about coronavirus disease cases in Nigeria? We checked.

Same screenshot, different texts

The report could not be found on CNN’s website. And the news hasn’t been reported by any credible media outlet.  

Google and TinEye reverse image searches reveal the same screenshot has been used with many different texts  – such as “President Muhammadu Buhari and the late Abba kyari tested positive for Covid-19” or “Polish vodka cures coronavirus”. (Note: Africa Check has debunked several doctored memes using the CNN brand.)

Screenshot from popular meme generator

A watermark on the screenshot shows the name of a popular meme generator,

The site allows users to add text and photos to create memes that look like screenshots of news reports.

A disclaimer on the site reads: “This app is intended for fun, humour and parody – be careful what you make and how it may be shared. You should avoid making things which are unlawful, defamatory or likely to cause distress. Have fun and be kind!”

Covid-19 cases increase in Nigeria

On 24 May, Nigeria had 7,839 confirmed cases of Covid-19, with 226 deaths. This was an increase of more than 300 cases and five deaths from the day before.

More than 2,200 patients have recovered. Some of them have publicly shared their experiences. – Fatima Abubakar


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

A fact-checker has rated your Facebook or Instagram post as “false”. What should you do? First, don't delete!

Click on our guide for the steps you should follow.

Publishers guide

Africa Check teams up with Facebook

Africa Check is a partner in Facebook’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.

Fighting coronavirus misinformation

Africa Check is working with the CoronaVirusFacts/DatosCoronaVirus Alliance, a coalition of more than 100 fact-checkers fighting misinformation about the Covid-19 pandemic.

Learn more about the alliance here.

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