Clickbait post uses fake free internet data offer to lure Facebook followers in Ethiopia

Copyright AFP 2017-2022. All rights reserved.

A Facebook post in Ethiopia lured online users with a bogus free internet data offer allegedly promoted by mobile phone company Ethio Telecom. The claim includes a link allegedly leading to the Ethio Telecom website. But AFP Fact Check found this to be fake: the URL leads to a flawed cryptocurrency site while the screenshot depicting the alleged giveaway is from an impostor account.

The message was posted on Facebook on June 20, 2022, and has since been shared over 100 times.

Screenshot showing the fake post, taken June 23, 2022

Written in Afaan Oromoo, the caption translates to: “Congratulations, you can get free Facebook data for 30 days here. Please follow the next steps and access the free data. Please click the link below, log into your Facebook account and use the free service.

The post includes a screenshot purporting to be from Ethio Telecom, asking Facebook users to enter their “correct password and phone number” to log in and get the free data.

The screenshot text reads: “We are offering free Facebook internet access for one month. Please comment on the post with the word ‘free’ and share this post in ten groups to get the data.”

However, the claim is false.

clickbait post

AFP Fact Check found that the link did not send Facebook users to a portal providing free data.

Instead, it directs them to a cryptocurrency website with a broken URL. Meanwhile, the screenshot appears to be from one of many accounts posing as the official Ethio Telecom page.

AFP Fact Check found several Facebook accounts called “Ethio Tele” featuring the Ethio telecom logo (here, here and here). Although they did not carry this exact message, there were other similar fake offers.

Also, the promotion is not on any of Ethio Telecom’s official social media pages (here and here) or on his website.

Also, the company name is not abbreviated to “Ethio Tele” as it appears in the screenshot.

The legitimate Ethio Telecom The Facebook page is verified with a blue checkmark and has over a million followers.

Screenshot showing Ethio telecom’s verified Facebook page

Ethio Telecom has confirmed that no such promotion exists.

“Ethio Telecom does not currently offer such a promotion. The screenshot is from a fake page. We have issued alerts in the past warning our customers against online fraudsters,” the company told e-mail. AFP Fact Check.

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