A misleading headline in the Nigerian media claims that the Association of Academic Staff Union of Universities encouraged Nigerian Students to acquire skills, travel or have fun as the disagreement between the body and the Federal Government lingers.
Screenshots of the misleading headline have been broadly shared on social media including Facebook and WhatsApp status. The widely shared post has generated a range of discussions on social media.
An online newspaper published the news story (archived here) on November 12, 2020, with the misleading headline “ ASUU urges undergraduates to acquire skills, travel, have fun”
The false news originated from one of the parody accounts of ASUU on Twitter
Comparing the time the post was shared on one of the parody accounts and when PM News published the misleading headline, reveals that the fake news originated from Twitter.
The post was published on one of the parody accounts misrepresenting ASUU on Twitter on the 12th of November by 10:22 AM, several hours later, the story with the misleading headline was published on PM News by 7:03 PM.
The story as published on PM News mentioned that its source was a parody account, however, the story was published with a misleading headline.
Other media platforms here and here published the misleading content without referring to the source being a parody account, hence misinforming readers. Comments on Facebook and the other platforms where the false story featured shows that many readers assumed the statement was released by the Association of Academic Staff Union of University.
The post originated from one of the fake accounts that claim to be ASUU’s Twitter handle. Research shows that there are 2 existing fake Twitter accounts misrepresenting the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
One of them, @ASUUNGR_ actually claims to be the official Twitter handle.
The other account goes by the handle @ASUUNGR
The wrong and misleading statement that ASUU has asked undergraduates to acquire skills, travel or have fun as the strike lingers on was posted by @ASUUNGR_.
Though ASUU is yet to release an official statement debunking the false quote, it is important to note that ASUU, in August 2020, through a statement published on the guardian online news website announced that “ASUU Leadership at the National level does not maintain any social media presence, be it Twitter, Facebook account or WhatsApp account.” Therefore, until ASUU announces otherwise, any statement credited to ASUU, claiming its source is from the body’s official social media handle should be disregarded.
*** The post was updated on the 16th of November for accuracy.
Lanre Olagunju is Lagos based fact-checker. He tweets via @Lanre_Olagunju on Twitter.