No, a barber did not cut off a customer’s ears over Imran Khan criticism
News card by Geo News doctored to present false information
Claim: A Geo News post, which includes an image of dismembered ears among shorn hair, claims that a barber cut off the ears of a man who criticised Imran Khan.
Fact: No such incident took place and the news card is doctored. Soch Fact Check spoke to multiple Geo News employees, who asserted that the organisation did not create or post such a visual on social media.
On 7 February 2023, Soch Fact Check received on WhatsApp the screenshot of a news card purportedly by Geo News, alleging a violent act carried out over criticism of Pakistan’s former prime minister and chief of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party, Imran Khan.
The news card, which includes two images, has the following text:
“پشاور میں ایک شہری حجام کی دکان پر بیٹھ کر عمران خان کے خلاف باتیں کر رہا تھا تو نائی غصے میں آگیا اور شہری کے دونوں کان کاٹ دیے
[In Peshawar, a citizen was sitting at a barber’s shop and criticising Imran Khan, so the barber got angry and cut off both of the citizen’s ears.]”
The two images included in the Geo News’ card show two dismembered ears among shorn hair, as well as a blurred image of a man getting a haircut.
Fact or Fiction?
Soch Fact Check ran a simple Google search using the text in the news card as input. We also searched Geo News’ Urdu and English websites and did not find any such report.
We used reverse image search tools to ascertain the source of the picture that shows dismembered ears placed among the shorn hair. However, the search results only turned up links to memes posted during the start and peak of the COVID-19 pandemic when people stayed home and decided to cut their own hair.
Some of these memes only show one cut ear, while another version depicts a similar ear apparently doctored on to it but in a different place.
We decided to check if we could find the original image without the ears edited in, so we used Adobe Photoshop’s clone tool and removed the ears ourselves, after which we input the resultant photo in reverse image search tools.
This led us to a tweet from 13 July 2018 by the legacy verified account of Nebraska Medicine, an academic medical centre.
The caption states, “Hair today, gone tomorrow! Neurosurgeon Dr. Dan Surdell kicked off our @StBaldricks head shaving event bright and early this morning! Learn why it was important for him to go bald for #childhoodcancer research.”
Furthermore, Geo News’ visuals only include a brief headline, not full sentences or full stops.
Lastly, we spoke to four employees of Geo News, including one editor, and all of them denied the channel or its website posting such a visual.
One of the most viral tweets was posted by Twitter account @_ImranRiazFan; it was viewed more than 64,200 times and received over 600 comments, 500 retweets, and 1,200 likes.
This tweet by a legacy verified account, @saimarahman6, was viewed close to 1,600 times, received 13 retweets, and was liked over 50 times.
Conclusion: No such incident took place and the news card is doctored. Soch Fact Check spoke to some Geo News employees, who denied the channel creating or posting such a visual on social media.