सोचिये नहीं, दबा के शेयर कीजिये (Do not think, share widely- translated). These words accompany a message along with a photograph of Congress President Rahul Gandhi with former US President Barack Obama. According to a post that has been shared widely on Facebook, Obama has said, “भारत में जिस तरह से परिवर्तन हो रहा है उससे निश्चित तौर पर आने वाले वक़्त में जनता राहुल गाँधी को पसंद करेगी, मैं राहुल को भारत का PM देखना चाहता हूं “(The manner in which change is taking place in India, it is clear that in future people will choose Rahul Gandhi, I wish to see Rahul as PM of India- translated)

विश्व भर के नेता अब राहुल गाँधी की ताकत मान रहे हैं

Posted by Rahul Gandhi For PM on Tuesday, May 29, 2018

The message is accompanied by a photograph of Rahul Gandhi with Barack Obama. It was posted by Rahul Gandhi for PM, a fan page of the Congress President on May 29, 2018. It has been shared close to 10,000 times already. विश्व भर के नेता अब राहुल गाँधी की ताकत मान रहे हैं (World leaders are now acknowledging Rahul Gandhi’s strength- translated), says the post.

Not the words of Barack Obama

Alt News usually tries to contact the concerned persons whenever a dubious quotation is brought to our notice. However in cases where it is not possible to do so, we use digital tools to establish the veracity of the quotes.

Alt News ran a Google search with the key words ‘Obama’ and ‘Rahul’, along with the operators ‘intitle’ and ‘AND’. The operator ‘intitle’ is basically used to search within the title of the stories. Further, the operator ‘AND’ is used to ensure that Google returns results of only those articles in which BOTH ‘Obama’ and ‘Rahul’ have been mentioned in the title. Using the date filter, we searched for news related to Barack Obama and Rahul Gandhi together for the years 2016, 2017 and 2018.

For 2018, we came across only one search result. This confirms that no such statement has been made by Obama this year.

For 2017, we came across a number of articles about the two leaders which spoke about the meeting between Congress President and the former US President in December, 2017. However, there was no reference to Obama endorsing Rahul Gandhi as claimed in the Facebook post.

For the year 2016, the search results showed that Rahul Gandhi had made a statement targeting PM Narendra Modi for taking a selfie with Barack Obama. Againt, there was no reference to this alleged quote by Obama on Rahul Gandhi. From 2016 to 2018, we could not find any evidence of Obama having endorsed Rahul Gandhi.

The Congress President had tweeted about this meeting with the former US President on December 1, 2017. He had also posted a photograph which has been used in this post with the fake quotation of Obama.

Barack Obama has in the past made statements with regard to both former Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh and PM Narendra Modi, where he has spoken positively about the two leaders. However, we could not find a single reference to Obama having made this statement about Rahul Gandhi, which would have been reported by mainstream media had such a statement indeed been made.

This fake quote ascribed to Obama is eerily similar to fake quotes which have been routinely shared by pages, groups and individual users supportive of PM Modi and BJP. The post asks readers not to think but to share as much as possible (सोचिये नहीं, दबा के शेयर कीजिये ), a tendency which helps share fake posts widely on social media platforms and more importantly, helps cultivate a culture of forwarding such posts without basic verification.

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About the Author

Arjun Sidharth is a writer with Alt News. He has previously worked in the television news industry, where he managed news bulletins and breaking news scenarios, apart from scripting numerous prime time television stories. He has also been actively involved with various freelance projects. Sidharth has studied economics, political science, international relations and journalism. He has a keen interest in books, movies, music, sports, politics, foreign policy, history and economics. His hobbies include reading, watching movies and indoor gaming.