Dr. Niraj Desai (L) sews in a kidney to a recipient patient during a kidney transplant at Johns Hopkins Hospital June 26, 2012 in Baltimore, Maryland (Photo by Brendan SMIALOWSKI / AFP)

Facebook account impersonating Johns Hopkins Medicine spreads fabricated job listings

Copyright AFP 2017-2023. All rights reserved.

A Facebook account purporting to represent Johns Hopkins hospitals and facilities claims to be offering jobs at the famed US medical institution, with promises of free visas, tickets and accommodation for successful applicants. However, this is false; the account is fake, as are the job listings. The institution confirmed with AFP Fact Check that the job postings are fake. 

"Welcome to John Hopkins Hospital (sic),” reads one of the latest posts on the Facebook page which describes itself as an “employment agency”. The page publishes images of hospitals and medical staff to give the impression it is an official recruitment channel for Johns Hopkins Medicine.

Screenshot taken on April 9, 2021, showing a post on the Facebook page

Johns Hopkins Medicine has multiple departments, including the Johns Hopkins Hospital.

What we know about the Facebook page

Since being created on November 2, 2020, there have been a total of ten posts on the page, according to data provided by social media monitoring tool CrowdTangle.

Further analysis of the page revealed that four of the posts claim to share employment opportunities at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, United States, including this one from February 12, 2021.

Screenshot taken on April 9, 2021, showing a post on the Facebook page

“Vacancy available,” it reads, “FREE VISA AND TICKET, ACCOMMODATION, GREAT SALARY (sic)”.

Some of the comments below the post indicate that certain social media users took the job postings at face value. 

For instance, an Afghanistan-based Facebook user asked how to apply.

Screenshot taken on April 9, 2021, showing comments on the post

“I am associated clinical professor of pediatrics in Afghanistan how to I apply to a position in your hospital (sic),” wrote the prospective Afghani applicant in the post’s reply section.

The post includes a custom-made WhatsApp link for interested applicants. Another option invites people to make direct contact on WhatsApp using the number provided.

Number associated with crypto adverts 

But AFP Fact Check discovered the purported contact number has previously appeared in multiple posts promoting “TOP-MINERS”, a cryptocurrency exchange website registered in Nigeria by “NiBiT Solutions & Technologies Limited”. 

This website's activities have previously raised safety concerns, and Nigeria’s central bank has warned people to avoid the platform or risk losing money.

AFP Fact Check sent a test message to the number and received an automatic response that read: “HELLO friend Thanks for showing your interest on our great opportunity job vacancies here in  USA. MY NAME IS * James Mark The CEO HIRING MANAGER OF * JOHN HOPKINS HOSPITAL (sic).

Screenshot of AFP Fact Check’s conversation with the number on WhatsApp

Not only was the response riddled with grammatical and punctuation errors (which can be typical of fake news purveyors and managers of fraudulent social media pages), it falsely attributed a non-existent role to “James Mark” whose name doesn’t belong to a list of the hospital’s leadership at Johns Hopkins.

AFP Fact Check established that the Facebook page has no affiliation with Johns Hopkins. Rather, it is run from Nigeria and appears to be targeting non-US residents who are seeking employment and willing to relocate.

No affiliation with Johns Hopkins Medicine 

Contacted by AFP Fact Check, Johns Hopkins Medicine confirmed that it does not own the Facebook page, nor did it post the hoax advert.

The Facebook page “is not a Johns Hopkins Hospital or Johns Hopkins Medicine site, and we take this kind of misuse of our name very seriously,” a Johns Hopkins Medicine official told AFP Fact Check in an emailed response.

Genuine employment opportunities, such as this one, appear on the Johns Hopkins website. Job descriptions include titles, requirements, location, category and other details, as well as “apply” buttons.

Johns Hopkins Medicine’s official Facebook page

Johns Hopkins Medicine’s official Facebook page is verified and has more than 600,000 followers. A link to it can be found in the bottom right-hand corner of the institution’s website.

Screenshot showing Johns Hopkins Medicine’s Facebook page

The genuine Facebook page was created on November 26, 2008, according to data from Facebook's Page Transparency report. This indicates the page existed for more than 12 years before the cloned version was created.

Fake Facebook page

Notably, the fake page misspells Johns Hopkins (by omitting the “s” in “Johns”).

Screenshot taken on April 9, 2021, showing the page’s “transparency” data on Facebook

Also, a Facebook "transparency" check on the page shows it is managed by an account registered in Nigeria.

Further checks on the page revealed two earlier posts contained a different contact number, “+12162066682”. 

A CrowdTangle search for the number shows it also circulated in suspicious job listings. This time, the purported jobs were not related to Johns Hopkins, but a hotel in the United Arab Emirates.

Frequent fake job listings 

Spoof job advertisements are common in Nigeria, where 23.2 million people - a third of the working population - were unemployed in 2020. 

AFP Fact Check previously uncovered similar fake social media pages pretending to belong to government institutions, public figures and corporate bodies, which have frequently appeared as the Covid-19 pandemic took its toll globally. 

EDIT 13/04/2021: Quotation mark added to the start of the second paragraph.