AFP fact check: Doctored photo of Rihanna with Pakistani flag goes viral after singer tweets supporting farmers' protest

AFP reported that the original photo was published on the official Twitter account of ICC on 1 July, 2019, which shows Rihanna holding a flag with the official logo of the West Indies cricket team

Agence France-Presse February 04, 2021 19:23:03 IST
AFP fact check: Doctored photo of Rihanna with Pakistani flag goes viral after singer tweets supporting farmers' protest

(Left) A doctored image of Rihanna with Pakistan flag (right) the actual image of Rihanna with West Indies flag from 2019. AFP

An image purportedly showing Rihanna holding the national flag of Pakistan has circulated online in social media posts after the pop star tweeted her support for protesting farmers in India. But the image, which was shared tens of thousands of times, has been doctored: the original photo actually shows Rihanna holding a West Indies flag at a cricket match in 2019.

The doctored image was published in this Facebook post on 3 February, 2021. It has been shared hundreds of times.

The post’s Hindi-language caption translates to English as: “Rihanna is the new godmother of the anti-government group. Now you can understand who she really is.”

AFP fact check Doctored photo of Rihanna with Pakistani flag goes viral after singer tweets supporting farmers protest

A screenshot of a post sharing a doctored image of Rihanna with Paksitan flag. AFP

Rihanna, who has more than 100 million Twitter followers, posted a tweet on 2 February, 2021, with a link to a CNN story about the ongoing Indian farmers' protests against new agricultural laws. CNN reported there had been an internet blackout at the camps where tens of thousands of Indian farmers have been living since November 2020.

“Why aren’t we talking about this?! #FarmersProtest”, reads her tweet.

Her tweet had received more than 313,000 retweets and 740,000 likes as of 4 February, 2021. Some Indian celebrities hit back at the Barbadian singer for her comment. Sporting legend Sachin Tendulkar and a host of Bollywood stars decried what India’s foreign ministry called "sensationalist" Twitter comments. AFP reported on the backlash here. Arch-rivals Pakistan and India are locked in dispute over Kashmir, and the image of Rihanna purportedly holding the Pakistani flag was shared widely after the Barbadian singer’s tweet, for example here and here on Facebook, and here and here on Twitter, alongside a similar claim. The claim is false: the image has been doctored to include the Pakistan national flag. Doctored image A reverse image search on Google found the original photo was published here on the official Twitter account of The International Cricket Council (ICC) on July 1, 2019. Rihanna is holding a flag with the official logo of the West Indies cricket. “Look who's at #SLvWI to Rally 'round the West Indies! Watch out for @rihanna's new single, Shut Up And Cover Drive,” reads the tweet.

Below is a screenshot comparison of the photo in the misleading posts (L) and the photo in the ICC's tweet (R):

AFP fact check Doctored photo of Rihanna with Pakistani flag goes viral after singer tweets supporting farmers protest

(Left) A doctored image of Rihanna with Pakistan flag (right) the actual image of Rihanna with West Indies flag from 2019. AFP

Rihanna also posted a photo of her on Instagram on July 2, 2019 wearing a cap knitted with West Indies cricket crest.

Below is a screenshot of the West Indies cricket crest taken from the official website:

AFP fact check Doctored photo of Rihanna with Pakistani flag goes viral after singer tweets supporting farmers protest

West Indies Cricket Board logo. Image courtesy: www.windiescricket.com

The West Indies played Sri Lanka on 1 July, 2019 in the English market town of Chester-le-Street during the 2019 Cricket World Cup.

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