The effect of misinformation and disinformation is not limited only to the online milieu and social media platforms. It will also spill over into other parts of our life. The trend of information disorder and disinformation is varying with the course of the conflict in Ethiopia. In the following summary, HaqCheck covers the major disinformation trends observed in the previous week along with important recommendations.
False and manipulated images
Oromia Liberation Army closing the road from Addis Ababa to Gojam
On Feb 9, 2022, A Facebook page with more than 150 thousand followers shared an image captioned, “Oromia Liberation Army (OLA) closed the road from Addis Ababa to Gojjam as reported by various Amhara regional media.”
Oromo Liberation Army (OLA), is an ethnic Oromo armed group fighting the Ethiopian government alongside Tigrayan rebels.
In August, the armed group announced that it formed an alliance with the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF), which has been fighting government forces in the north of the country since Nov 2020.
However, the image is found to be False, taken from a previous video on Aug 25, 2021, on a news and media website entitled,f “OLA is committing violence and crime on innocents in Wollega and Gujji zones.”
Even though there are several claims that OLA closed the road from Addis Ababa to Gojam the image used to support the claim is False.
Therefore HaqCheck checked the image and rendered it False.
weapons captured at Raya front
The post had more than 800 reactions and was shared more than 100 times. By the time this article was published the Telegram post had more than 6700 views.
The first image is spotted in the news video on its 23 minute and 05 seconds
The second image is spotted in the news video on its 22 minutes and 57 seconds
Tigrayan women digging trench to help TPLF
A Facebook account with more than 100,000 followers posted an image on Feb 02, 2022, claiming to show a Tigrayn mother digging a trench to help TPLF attack Afar. By the time this article was published it got more than one thousand reactions and was shared nearly two hundred times.
HaqCheck investigated the post and proved that the image was first posted on Apr 12, 2019, on a Facebook page captioned, “a terrace will not help for the people of Raya, rather removing bad administration (governance).”
Therefore HaqCheck rendered it False.
The letter of Tsega Arage
A letter circulating on social media claimed to be written by the name of Agenew Teshager was another subject of controversy last week. But, the letter is actually written by Tsega Arage, a member of the prosperity party central committee, to the Prosperity Party Control and Inspection Commission.
Tsega discussed in his letter that “the Rules and regulations were broken in the party.”
Apart from the reality, there was a manipulated image circulating on Facebook. The post used a caption, "Agegnew Teshager has broken his silence" and attached the letter of Tsega Arage to support its assertion.
Since the letter was written by Tsega Arage, HaqCheck proved that the image was manipulated.
Therefore HaqCheck checked the post and rendered it False.
Social media influencers and content creators should be responsible for their activities on their platforms. We observe that social media influencers and content creators were sharing false images mixed up with new pictures. This makes it hard for users to identify the false from the real images which may also undermine the truth on the ground. Thus, they should be responsible and abstain from sharing false and unauthenticated images and information.
As a fact-checking initiative we recommend, everyone should inquire about the authenticity of the information before they read and share it with others. Users should identify and detect trustable, verified page sources to grasp the crux of any issue.