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Liberia’s Lonestar Cell MTN not offering free data to old customers

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Liberia’s Lonestar Cell MTN not offering free data to old customers

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A WhatsApp claim in Liberia claims that the telecommunication giant Lonestar Cell MTN is offering free data to its old subscribers.

“Lonestar Cell MTN is offering free data to all old SIM cards. 6-month-old SIM-5GB. One year and above-10GB. Hurry now and check if your SIM Card is eligible for this offer,” a message on the purported data bonus reads. 

Liberia’s Lonestar Cell MTN not offering free data to old customers
A screenshot of the claim on WhatsApp

The alleged promo has been shared widely on WhatsApp in Liberia.

A click on a link that accompanied a softcopy of the flyer takes people directly to comments by persons who claimed they had received their data from Lonestar Cell MTN.

Liberia’s Lonestar Cell MTN not offering free data to old customers
A screenshot of the comments section

DUBAWA decided to fact-check the claim as part of its campaign against mis-and disinformation in Liberia.

Verification

DUBAWA’s checks have shown that Lonestar Cell MTN is not giving out free data to its old customers as alleged. The telco giant disputed the allegation when contacted by DUBAWA. 

“This is a fraud,” Lonestar Cell MTN said in a Whatsapp chat. 

Liberia’s Lonestar Cell MTN not offering free data to old customers
A screenshot of Lonestar Cell MTN’s response to DUBAWA

DUBAWA later contacted some individuals who shared the link in their WhatsApp groups to find their source, but they have yet to respond to the inquiry.

Also, DUBAWA conducted a content analysis of the supposed website that customers of Lonestar Cell MTN were expected to sign up for the free giveaway. It was discovered that the site was not the official website of the telco company. 

DUBAWA was able to establish that previous giveaway beneficiaries’ purported engagement with the website claim appeared inauthentic because the numbers either reduced or increased on every visit to the website.  

The first visit by DUBAWA on May 23, 2024, showed there were 182,000 likes, 38, 000 comments and 34, 000 shares. 

Liberia’s Lonestar Cell MTN not offering free data to old customers
A Screenshot of the engagement by previous beneficiaries

However, a second visit hours later on the same day revealed 134,000 likes, 23,000 comments, and 12, 000 shares.

A Google Keyword search conducted by DUBAWA did not reveal any online information supporting the claim that Lonestar Cell MTN was offering free data to its old subscribers.

Conclusion:

Based on DUBAWA’s findings, it is not true that Lonestar Cell MTN offers free data to old SIM Card subscribers, as alleged.

The researcher produced this fact-check under the DUBAWA 2024 Kwame KariKari Fellowship, in partnership with Radio Gbarnga, FM 96.5 MHz, to facilitate the spirit of “truth” in journalism and enhance media literacy.

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