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Fact check: Obama did not send Dec. 5 tweet criticising Indian Prime Minister

Social media users have been sharing a screenshot appearing to show Barack Obama criticising India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Twitter. However, the tweet pictured in the screenshot was fabricated.

Reuters Fact Check. REUTERS

The screenshot is designed to look like it has been taken directly from Twitter, displaying Obama’s profile image, blue tick and handle. It shows an apparent tweet with 13,900 likes from Dec. 5 saying: “Today I am shamefull (sic) for a hand shake with this man... #Narendra Modi” above an image of Obama and Modi shaking hands and smiling. There is no such tweet on Obama’s Twitter profile (twitter.com/BarackObama) and no evidence a tweet of this nature was ever sent.

The post has been shared widely across Facebook, for instance here and here .

The photograph used in the screenshot is authentic, but it was not tweeted by Obama on Dec. 5. It was taken in 2014 during Modi’s trip to the U.S here. Similar images from Modi’s meeting with Obama in the oval office during that trip were published here and here .

There are also clear signs the tweet in the screenshot is a hoax. The tweet contains basic spelling errors that Obama would be unlikely to make, such as “shamefull” (correctly spelt “shameful”) and hand shake (spelt “handshake”), as well as using the wrong adjective for the English expression “I am ashamed”.

Some elements of the tweet also fail to match Twitter’s style. In a recent image tweeted by Obama, the edges of the photo were rounded and the date appeared underneath (here).

Many of the posts claimed that Obama’s alleged tweet was in response to the farmers’ protest, referring to the tens of thousands of farmers who have protested in India against three laws Modi’s government says will overhaul antiquated procurement procedures and give growers more options to sell their produce (here) .

Farmers fear the legislation will eventually dismantle India’s regulated markets and leave them at the mercy of private buyers. Thousands protested in support of the farmers in London on Dec. 6, Reuters reported (here).

While other international leaders have spoken out on the issue (here), there is no evidence on Obama’s twitter (twitter.com/BarackObama) that he commented on the protests on Dec. 5.

VERDICT

False. Barack Obama did not tweet that he was ashamed of shaking hands with Narendra Modi. The image paired an invented tweet with an authentic image from 2014 to mislead social media users to believe that Obama had criticised Modi on Twitter.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact-checking work  here .  

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