FACT-CHECK: FGN Did Not Buy WhatsApp Messaging App for 3BN

VERDICT: False

CLAIM: On March 10, 2021, fact-checkers at the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) spotted a post on Facebook claiming that messaging Application, WhatsApp, has been bought by the Nigerian Government.

The Facebook user claimed said the application was bought by the Federal Government of Nigeria at the sum of three billion (no currency was indicated).

Also, the post claimed that all users of WhatsApp should endeavour to leave the app immediately to another one (signal App) as they would now be monitored by the Nigerian government.

The claim read in part: “You will be tracked! Leave WhatsApp now! Go to Signal app now!” reads an excerpt from the post. Signal is an end-to-end encrypted instant messaging app.”

FACT:

Checks by CDD show that contrary to the claim, the Nigerian Government has not acquired WhatsApp messaging app.

An investigation by CDD also shows that the post made on Facebook by a handler, “Best of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu” has been marked by the social media company as fake news.

Facebook in a reaction to the post said that the information made by the handler has been checked by independent fact-checkers and confirmed to be false.

A further check showed that the social media company in a response to AFP described the information as false.

Also, Facebook could not have sold an app which the company acquired at $19.3 billion – $4 billion in cash, $12 billion worth of Facebook shares, and $3 billion in restricted stock units to Koum and Acton – in February 2014 for three billion (3BN) to the Nigerian Government.

It is important to note that WhatsApp is currently valued at more than $500 billion and could not have been sold at three billion as claimed.

The Facebook handler who made the post is likely to a fan of Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra whose members specialize in spreading false information across social media platforms.

CONCLUSION

CDD can confirm the claim that WhatsApp has been bought by the Nigerian Government for three billion (3BN) is false.

The CDD urges members of the public to read beyond headlines before sharing any news report, especially on social media.

You can forward suspicious messages for verification via +2349062910568 or contact us on Twitter @CDDWestAfrica

#StopFakeNews #StopDisinformation

Center for Democracy and Development West Africa| CDD West Africa