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 has been luring online users with a fake offer for free internet data allegedly promoted by mobile company Ethio telecom. The claim includes a link allegedly leading to Ethio telecom's website. But AFP Fact Check found this to be false: the URL leads to a broken cryptocurrency site while the screenshot describing the purported giveaway is from an imposter account.

The post was published on Facebook on June 20, 2022, and has since been shared more than 100 times.

Screenshot showing the false post, taken on June 23, 2022

Written in Afaan Oromoo, the caption translates to: “Congratulations, you can get free 30-day Facebook data here. Please follow the following steps and access the free data. Please click on the link below, log in to your Facebook account and use the free service.”

The post includes a screenshot purported to be from Ethio telecom, asking Facebook users to enter their “correct password and telephone number” to log in and obtain the free data.

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

However, the claim is false.

Clickbait post

AFP Fact Check found that the link does 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 seems to have come from one of a number of accounts impersonating the official page of Ethio telecom.

AFP Fact Check found several Facebook accounts called “Ethio Tele” featuring the logo of Ethio telecom (here, here and here). Although they did not feature this exact post, there were other similar bogus deals.

Also, the promotion is not on any of Ethio telecom's official social media pages (here and here) or on its website.

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

The legitimate Ethio telecom Facebook page is verified with a blue tick and has more than a million followers.

Screenshot showing the verified Ethio telecom Facebook page

Ethio telecom confirmed that no such promotion existed.

“Ethio telecom is not currently running such a promotion. The screenshot is from a fake page. We have issued alerts in the past cautioning our clients against online fraudsters,” the company told AFP Fact Check.