Claim: Seven Gambia national football team players and four members of the Gambian coaching staff returned positive Covid-19 tests on Thursday 27th January 2022 and have been placed in isolation
Evidence of the screengrab was fabricated and generated by a tool. In addition, a CAF official has denied the organisation made any such post. The Gambian Football Federation has also denied the claims, describing it as untrue.
An image in circulation that contains a tweet supposedly from the official CAF Twitter account claims that seven players including the captain of the Gambian National football team and four members of the management team tested positive for Covid-19 and have been put in isolation. This claim comes two days ahead of Gambia’s upcoming quarter-final match against Cameroon on January 29, 2022, and could potentially affect the Gambian team. The claim, which gathered 2,000 retweets, 6,000 quote tweets, and 55,000 likes is seen below.
Assessing the purported CAF-Official Twitter screengrab
Dubawa set out to confirm from CAF if the viral screengrab alleged to be emanating from their official twitter page was true but we found it to be false.
Navigating the official CAF Twitter page, and comparing it to the viral screengrab, there appears to be some similarity. However, a cursory look at the picture and CAF’s official twitter page shows a bit of a difference. CAF’s official page has the AFCON trophy symbol in gold very close to the verified icon. However, the picture with the claim has no such trophy. It only shows the verified icon. Furthermore, regular content from the official CAF Twitter page disproves the authenticity of the screengrab. This is because the CAF Twitter was predominant with highlights of a match in video formats and updates on ongoing matches such as score lines, with very few instances where there were posts on players, or CAF-related issues outside the match as found here and here. The particular screengrab with the claim in question could not be found on their timeline. Furthermore, the hashtags used in the screengrab were inconsistent with the hashtags of the official CAF Twitter.
Based on the archival nature of the Internet, Dubawa took to further investigate the authenticity of the screengrab by searching for the history of the post with Google and The Wayback Machine. When the exact words of the Tweet were searched on Google, there was interestingly no evidence of the text found anywhere on the Internet – not even from the supposed thousands of retweets, quote tweets and likes from the post
Furthermore, searching for a possible deleted post from CAF official Twitter page was investigated on The WayBack Machine, and there was no trace of such a tweet ever posted by the CAF official Twitter page generated by the Internet archival tool.
Additionally, there was no identified source of the post anywhere online, and given the fact that there were variations in the screengrab and CAF official page, Dubawa had every reason to believe the screengrab in circulation was fake, generated by tools such as TweetGen.
TweetGen is a fake tweet generator which allows for users to create tweets with a verified check and a custom like and retweet count as evidently seen in the purported CAF official tweet making the rounds.
Dubawa also spoke to a CAF media correspondent who denied the existence of the tweet by CAF. The correspondent indicated that it was against the organisation’s policy to make public the health records or health status of players, emphasising that such a post can never be authored by CAF on its official Twitter page.
Gambia Football Federation also debunks claim
Additionally, the Gambia Football Federation (GFF) has denied the claims making the rounds and stated that the reports are “fake, malicious and bogus”.
The tweet purportedly by CAF stating that 7 Gambian National football team players and 4 members of the Gambian coaching staff returned positive Covid-19 tests on Thursday 27th January 2022 and have been placed in isolation is false. Not only do independent investigations reveal that it was a fabricated screengrab generated by a tool, a CAF official has denied the organisation ever making such a post. The Gambian Football Federation has also confirmed that the news is untrue.