FACT CHECK: Did Nigeria Purchase WhatsApp From Facebook?

Elias Atienza | Fact Check Reporter

An image shared on Facebook claims the Nigerian government purchased the messaging app WhatsApp from Facebook for 3 billion naira.

Verdict: False

There is no evidence Facebook sold WhatsApp to the Nigerian government. A spokesperson for Facebook confirmed the company has not sold WhatsApp.

Fact Check:

The image, which describes itself as a “security alert,” alleges the Nigerian government purchased WhatsApp from Facebook for 3 billion naira and urges people to switch to Signal, another messaging app, to avoid being tracked. 3 billion naira is roughly equivalent to $7.8 million.

Yet, contrary to the post’s claim, there is no evidence the Nigerian government purchased WhatsApp from Facebook. Neither Facebook nor WhatsApp have put out an announcement about the supposed sale. Tech-focused media outlets such as Gizmodo, TechCrunch and The Verge also haven’t reported on it.

Furthermore, it seems unlikely that Facebook would sell WhatsApp for around $7.8 million when, according to Bloomberg News, it bought the messaging app for $22 billion in 2014. When Facebook bought WhatsApp in 2014, the company filed a Form 8-K with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) saying it had completed the acquisition. Check Your Fact didn’t find any recent SEC filings about the social media company selling WhatsApp.

“All rumours are simply false,” a Facebook spokesperson confirmed to Check Your Fact via email when asked about the post’s claim. (RELATED: Has Nigeria Received Coronavirus Vaccines From China?)

AFP Fact Check reported that one of the more popular Facebook posts spreading the false claim came from an account that supports the Biafra secession movement.

Elias Atienza

Fact Check Reporter
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