Claim: During Christmas, Argentinian footballer Lionel Messi visited Nigerian musician David Adeleke, better known as Davido.
Verdict: False. The photo, which contained a purported tweet from Davido’s verified X account, was manipulated. The musician didn’t share the tweet, while Messi didn’t visit Nigeria.
Stan culture is a primary characteristic of the showbiz industry and celebrity life in general. Occasionally, fans of a particular celebrity push content to promote their favourite and spite followers of others perceived as rivals.
It is common to see fans of different celebrities engaging in verbal war online, with each camp trying to justify why their favourite is better than others.
One acronym recently becoming a subject of such debates is GOAT, which means Greatest of All Times. There are usually heated arguments over who the GOAT is, from music to football.
Lionel Messi, a top footballer, and Davido are recurring names in GOAT debates. Both have millions of fans across the globe.
Davido is an award-winning musician with a strong fanbase known as 30BG (30 billion gang). The Nigerian is popular in the global music landscape for his musical prowess. In a GOAT debate, he often features his fellow musicians, Burna Boy and Wizkid.
Messi, on the other hand, has won a record eight Ballon d’Or awards and a record six European Golden Shoes. He and Cristiano Ronaldo, a Portuguese footballer, have been locked in a years-long rivalry, with their fans often at loggerheads over who is the best (GOAT) in football.
Recently, a social media user posted a purported screenshot of Davido’s tweet. The photos claimed the musician announced the reception of Messi, who was said to have paid him a courtesy visit to mark the last Christmas celebration.
Looking closer at the photo, DUBAWA observed that the tweet, purportedly from Davido’s verified X handle, was dated Jan. 1 2024. He wrote, ”@leomessi came to Nigeria to celebrate Xmas…GOAT recognises GOAT! E don chop eba tire.”
Images in the purported tweet showed Davido and Messi standing together close to an aeroplane and in another location. The Facebook post can be seen here.
Due to the profile of the two figures mentioned, DUBAWA decided to verify the photos.
First, we observed the photos do not align properly. They appear like what had been manipulated, as the two celebrities seem floating.
A Google Reverse Image Search showed that the image on the right was taken from Davido’s Instagram handle from a post he made in Sept. 2023 during his visit to the Video Music Awards in Manchester.
Messi was edited into the image. Also, the image on the left initially contained only Lionel Messi and was taken during his visit to the 2020 Dubai Expo. It was posted on the verified X handle of Dolce & Gabbana in Dec. 2021. Davido was edited into this image.
DUBAWA also visited Davido’s verified X handle to check the credibility of the tweet quoted by the Facebook user. However, we observed that the tweet made by the musician on Jan. 1, 2024, was one where he thanked his fans and followers for their support in 2023.
In the original tweet, he sought more support from his followers in 2024. The tweet included pictures of him performing on stage at different times.
The other posts he made in the following days have nothing to do with the footballer’s purported visit to Nigeria.
The tweet posted by the Facebook user appeared to have been created using either one of the fake online tools like Photoshop or TweetGen.
Tweetgen is an online fake Tweet generator. It is easy to use and supports light, dim and dark themes. Users can customise every element of a tweet, including date, time, number of likes and retweets, and username, among others.
The app is updated with the platform’s current features. For instance, it has options for verified check marks and a feature like a retweet count.
DUBAW also observed the text “shubbyedits,” on the tweet, indicating the image was edited.
The purported tweet from Davido and the photos in the tweet announcing Messi’s visit were manipulated. Messi did not visit Nigeria during the last Christmas, as claimed by the Facebook user.