Ghana

FACTCHECK: Michael Essien did NOT lose 1 million followers over LGBTQ+ post

General News of Wednesday, 3 March 2021

Source: ghana.dubawa.org

Ghanaian soccer international, Michael Essien Ghanaian soccer international, Michael Essien

Claim:

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.

“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).

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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