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Sports News of Wednesday, 3 March 2021

Source: ghana.dubawa.org

FACT-CHECK: Michael Essien did NOT lose 1 million followers over LGBTQ+ post

Claim:

Many news websites say Ghanaian soccer international, Michael Essien lost over 1 million followers on Twitter after making an Instagram post to declare solidarity for LGBTQ+s in Ghana.

Verdict: FALSE Social media indices used to assess the following of Michael Essien on Twitter show that he has not lost a million followers on the platform.

Full text

Many news websites including Daily GuideNetwork, Modern Ghana, GhanaWeb and GhPage claim that Ghanaian soccer international and former Chelsea FC star, Michael Essien has lost over 1 million followers on social media after declaring solidarity with groups demanding equal rights for LGBTQ+ in Ghana.

Several social media posts such as this and this also made such claims. Some of the publications claim the follower count drop was recorded on Twitter while others said it occurred on Instagram.

Michael Essien’s post that reportedly led to the mass exodus of followers was published on his Instagram page. It has since been deleted after several backlash by the commenting public.

“Ghana supports equality. We see you, we support you. Our LGBTQ+ plus community in Ghana”, that Essien shared on his Instagram account,” the post read.



The claim is curious because, among other things, there are only about 2 million Instagram accounts and 695,000 Twitter accounts in Ghana, according to Hootsuite’s 2021 Digital Report for Ghana and so it appears unlikely that the majority of these numbers will unfollow Essien on his platforms. (Page 48 & 51).

Currently, Michael Essien’s official Instagram page reports 1.4 million followers while his official Twitter account reports 688,000 followers.

Verification

Twitter: Relying on the free Twitter monitoring application provided by SocialBakers, an AI-powered social media marketing company we run a scan on Michael Essien’s personal Twitter page and noticed that his followers on Twitter on 2nd March 2021 when the controversial post was made, did not fall but rather increased significantly compared to previous days.

The application recorded at least 560 net new followers.

This was a sharp rise in the number of net new followers compared to previous days.

See the graphs below for the visual representation:

Essien’s follower growth since February 2021

Essien’s net followers since February 2021

Conclusion

Based on the information above, we conclude that the claim that Ghanaian football star Michael Essien lost over a million followers on social media after declaring solidarity with LGBTQ+ in Ghana is false.

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