Fake publications invent that players from European teams dedicated goals to Bolsonaro

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Information from viral posts on Facebook with tributes from international football players to President Jair Bolsonaro (no party) after goals and victories of their teams are invented.

As verified by Projeto Comprova, in the most recent publication appears the Egyptian Mohamed Salah, striker of the English team Liverpool, with a false phrase praising Bolsonaro after supposedly having heard good references from fellow Brazilians. Last week, there was a similar montage with a photo of the Italian athlete Ciro Immobile, who plays for Lazio’s Italian team.

Named as the source of one of the stories, journalist Jorge Nicola did not publish about Salah’s supposed homage to Bolsonaro. “I didn’t write any of that,” he told the story.

In the post with Immobile, the claim is that the origin of the story was an Italian sports newspaper, but there is no report with this content.

Comprova wrote for the pages that published the contents. The Bolsonaro Presidente Facebook profile did not respond until this text was published. The Bolsonaro 2022 BR group could not be contacted because there is no option to send a message.

Comprova considered the contents false because they were invented.

How do we check?

To verify Salah’s case, the report checked the blog and all social networks of Jorge Nicola, a journalist cited as the source of the story, and found no reference to the case on YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. There was contact with Nicola himself via WhatsApp messages and he denied having published the content.

The report also made contact with Alisson Becker’s press officer, one of the Brazilian players mentioned in one of the posts.

About the case that circulated the previous week, Immobile, the team contacted the player’s press office through Instagram and LinkedIn and searched Italian sports newspaper websites to see if any of them would be the source cited in the post. , and there was no information about the tribute. The Italian player’s social networks were also checked and there was no demonstration about Bolsonaro. So far, the player’s staff has not responded to the messages.

Verification

Mohamed Salah

On October 24, Liverpool thrashed rival Manchester United 5-0, with three goals from Mohamed Salah, one of the 30 best players in the world today, according to the list of the Golden Ball award by French magazine France Football. Trying to take advantage of the Egyptian’s popularity, a post falsely claims that he admires Jair Bolsonaro for what he hears in conversations with Brazilian players at the club, such as goalkeeper Alisson, defensive midfielder Fabinho and striker Roberto Firmino.

The press office of goalkeeper Alisson Becker said that the situation narrated in the post is false.

The source cited in the publication is “Jorge Nicolas”, the wrong spelling of the name of journalist Jorge Nicola, who maintains a blog on Yahoo and denied having done any reporting on the subject. “Never”, was what he answered categorically when asked if he had already released an interview with this content.

Ciro Immobile

The source cited in the post about Immobile is “Italian sports newspaper”, without specifying which press vehicle would have reported on the matter.

In La Gazzeta dello Sport, no article was published with the names of Immobile and Bolsonaro in the same text.

At Corriere dello Sport, there was a story with the two involved, but it is not related to the subject. The report is March 26, 2020 and reflects the interview that Lucas Leiva, Brazilian Lazio player, gave to Globo Esporte with a warning to his homeland about the danger of the coronavirus. Until that day, Covid-19 had killed 77 people in Brazil, but it was already affecting Italy with greater intensity, where 8,215 citizens had died. Leiva reported the routine of quarantine in the country. The article speaks of the Brazilian president’s denial stance, which disdained the danger and discarded the need for isolation.

Immobile’s name appears on the page in a photo gallery that shows players who posted on social networks with the hashtag in Italian “iostoacasa”, which in Portuguese means “I stay at home”, a different stance from the one defended by Bolsonaro since the onset of the pandemic.

The Italian player used the same or similar hashtag in other publications. He also donated a football shirt for auction with the proceeds donated to a hospital that treated Covid-19 victims. When he received thanks for the gesture, he reciprocated by calling health professionals “true champions”.

Why do we investigate?

In its fourth phase, Comprova checks suspicious content about the pandemic, federal government public policies and elections. The fake post about Salah’s tributes to Bolsonaro had about 3,900 reactions and more than 1,700 shares before it could no longer be viewed on Facebook. The publication with Immobile had 2,000 reactions and over 500 shares as of October 28, when it was also blocked.

Any citizen has the right to support any politician he wants, but it is dangerous for democracy when opinion is formed on the basis of false content, like the ones verified here.

The same or similar publications were considered false by the verification agencies Lupa, Estadão Vera, Ao Fatos and Boatos.org.

Comprova has already classified as false other content that associated the names of athletes with support for Bolsonaro, such as the one that claimed that surfer Italo Ferreira would have asked for the arrest of former president Lula (PT) during the Tokyo Olympics and what he said that the soundtrack used in a performance by gymnast Rebeca Andrade at the same event would be a tribute to Bolsonaro.

False, for Comprova, is content invented or edited to change its original meaning and deliberately disclosed to spread a lie.

Comprova performed this verification based on information available on the 29th October 2021.

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