UN chief Antonio Guterres did not criticise Pakistani authorities on Twitter

Doctored tweet goes viral on WhatsApp and other social media platforms

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Claim: A screenshot shows a tweet by United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in which he says, “I am surprised that on the visit to Pakistan, the Prime Minister of Pakistan wanted me to have a media talk of his choice. I saw there that the Pakistani authorities do not care about the people.”

Fact: Antonio Guterres made no such comment on his Twitter. The screenshot is doctored, evident through the fake verified sign next to his name and the wrong Twitter handle, “@antoniogutrres.”

On 13 September 2022, Soch Fact Check received via WhatsApp a screenshot of a tweet allegedly posted by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in which the official criticised  Pakistani authorities.

The tweet appears to have been posted from the handle @antoniogutrres, which has the name “Antonio Gutrres,” at 8:20 AM on 11 September 2022. Its text reads:

“I am surprised that on the visit to Pakistan, the Prime Minister of Pakistan wanted me to have a media talk of his choice. I saw there that the Pakistani authorities do not care about the people”

Guterres arrived in Pakistan on Friday, 9 September 2022, for a two-day trip to raise awareness about the calamity-hit country dealing with the aftermath of unprecedented flooding caused by melting glaciers and monsoon rains.

Fact or Fiction?

Soch Fact Check identified the most obvious error in the viral screenshot: the spelling “Gutrres” in the Twitter account’s name and handle, compared to “Guterres” in his official handle. Further, accounts of importance that Twitter has verified display a blue check mark in a circular cloud next to the user’s name; however, the check mark in this screenshot appears in a square box, indicating that it has likely been edited.

We browsed the verified Twitter account of Antonio Guterres, who posted six tweets about Pakistan since landing in the country’s southern Sindh province. These are available here, here, here, here, here, and here.

It also appears that the doctored screenshot was first posted on Facebook by user ‘Fazal Hasnain’, archived here, at 9:14 AM on 13 September 2022. However, it is unclear whether the screenshot originated from this account.

Soch Fact Check concludes that the screenshot has been doctored and that Guterres has not tweeted anything of the sort.

Virality

Soch Fact Check conducted a CrowdTangle analysis for the three-day period from 11 September 2022 to 14 September using the following search terms:

  • “Antonio Gutrres”
  • “مونکي حيرت آھي تـ پاڪستان جي دوري دوران پاڪستان جي وزيراعظم مونکي پنھنجي مرضي جو بيان ڏيارڻ چاھيو پئي”
  • “I am surprised that on the visit to Pakistan, the Prime Minister of Pakistan wanted me to have a media talk of his choice. I saw there that the Pakistani authorities do not care about the people”

The first search term gained 2,507 interactions across 103 posts on Facebook, while the second and third one turned up 22 Facebook posts that garnered 616 interactions and 96 Facebook posts with 2,381 interactions, respectively.

Conclusion: Antonio Guterres made no such comment on his Twitter. The screenshot is doctored, which is evident through the fake verified sign next to his name and the wrong Twitter handle, “@antoniogutrres.”

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