Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Was this man actually hired by mosquito repellent firms for ‘deadly farts’

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An article claiming that a Ugandan man was approached by mosquito repellent companies for his “deadly farts” has been shared thousands of times on Facebook as well as by Britain’s Sun newspaper.

AFP traced the story to a parody website, while the picture supposedly showing the man was taken during an Ebola screening in DR Congo.

The version of the article published by British tabloid The Sun has received more than 25,000 Facebook interactions since it was posted on December 10, according to data from social media monitoring tool CrowdTangle.

“A MAN whose farts kill mosquitoes claims to have been signed up by insect repellent companies probing the secret of his killer gas,” the article reads.

“Joe Rwamirama, 48, from Kampala, Uganda says boffins have launched a study into the chemical properties of his unique trouser toxin.”

Zambian Facebook page Tumfweko, which has more than 400,000 followers, shared a version of the same story that has attracted more than 4,000 comments and reactions.

But where did this story come from?

The earliest version of this story appears on satirical website Ihlaya News on December 9, 2019.

On Facebook, Ihlaya has a disclaimer warning that its content is ‘news parody’. Furthermore, the Afrikaans word ‘Ihlaya’ translates as ‘joke’ in English while the tag ‘nuusparodie waarvan jy hou’ as used on the website translates to ‘news parody you like’.

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The photo shows a man in DR Congo

A reverse image search on Google revealed that the picture of the man referred to as ‘Joe Rwamirama’ was taken in DR Congo by a photographer from Reuters news agency during an Ebola screening on July 15, 2019. The picture was used by Sky News in a report about Ebola in the region.

Below is the original photograph as captioned by Reuters.

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