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Twitter joke run as real by Nigerian news outlets

Tweets by @SaeedDiCaprio were taken seriously, even though they indicated it was a joke

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Claim: News outlets reported that Twitter fired a man 24 hours after hiring him.

Fact: The reports were based on tweets by @SaeedDiCaprio, who posted them as an elaborate joke.

On 10 February 2023, four Nigerian news outlets published a news story titled, “Elon Musk allegedly fires man from Twitter 24 hours after hiring him.” These included Correct NG (archive), The Info NG (archive), The Time Nigeria (archive), and VibezGist (archive).

The news story was based on tweets by Twitter user @SaeedDiCaprio, who, in two separate posts, said:

  • “hello guys it’s my first day as a twitter software engineer wish me luck!”
  • “just got fired”

The archived versions of the first and second tweets are available here and here, respectively.

Fact or Fiction?

Soch Fact Check went through the Twitter account of @SaeedDiCaprio and found a follow-up tweet, wherein they wrote (archive), “no way they actually wrote an article I’m crying.” The post was accompanied by screenshots of some of the articles that carried the said news stories.

We have ascertained that the tweets were made in jest, adding sarcasm to the recent developments under Elon Musk, Twitter’s new chief, who has been actively laying off staff. Moreover, the time between the tweets is also a giveaway; the first one was posted at 3:29 AM on 9 February 2023 and the second one announcing getting fired was posted at 4:07 AM the same day.

The microblogging giant has let go at least 200 employees in the latest round of dismissals, according to a 27 February 2023 report by The New York Times (archive).

“The social media platform now has a work force of less than 2,000, down from 7,500 when Elon Musk took it over in October,” the publication wrote.

Interestingly, we also found a tweet by @SaeedDiCaprio from 18 November 2022 wherein they are seen wearing the same T-shirt as in the viral tweet in question. It is captioned as follows: “I was cleaning the washrooms at twitter hq and elon musk handed me a shirt and asked me to learn coding by the end of the night because they were short on employees” (tweet link and archive).

The T-shirt @SaeedDiCaprio is wearing is also available on multiple online shops here, here, here, and here. Lastly, they also posted this meme (archive), which indicates the entire fiasco was just a joke.

Virality

Soch Fact Check conducted a CrowdTangle analysis for the 30-day period from 28 January 2023 to 27 February using the search term, “Elon Musk allegedly fires man from Twitter 24 hours after hiring him”.

We found three Facebook posts, which gained a total of 9,500 interactions.

Links to the news outlets’ stories were shared here and here on their own Facebook pages. Others shared the articles here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

Conclusion: The reports were based on tweets by @SaeedDiCaprio, who posted them as an elaborate joke.

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