A photo purportedly of a tweet shared by Al Jazeera showing a battered woman surrounded by men, with one person holding a stick, is being shared saying "Taliban has started abducting minor girls from their homes".
The photo is being circulated in the backdrop of the militant group Taliban taking control over the region as people have started fleeing the war-ravaged country.
However, we found that no such tweet was posted by Al Jazeera and the picture was from a performance in 2016 by Afghan artists who were reenacting the mob lynching of one Farkhunda Malikzada, who was falsely accused of burning a copy of the Quran, in Afghanistan's capital Kabul, in 2015.
The text in the photo reads, "Taliban started abducting minor girls from thier home. The parents who are refusing to give their daughters to Taliban are being killed by Taliban fighters.(sic)"
It is being shared with the hashtag '#SaveAfghanWomen'.
WHAT WE FOUND
When we closely looked at the image, we found various discrepancies in the photo, for instance the spelling of 'Al Jazeera English' which has been written as 'Al Jajeera English' in the photo.
Next, when we looked at the Twitter account of Al Jazeera, we found that its handle name is '@AJEnglish'. However, in the viral tweet, it has been altered to '@AJENews'.
This indicates that the altered photo has used the user name of one account and the handle name from the other and created the image.
We then analysed the archive of the Twitter handle of ‘Al Jazeera Breaking News’ on WayBack Machine in the date range 5 October 2014 -17 August 2021 and at no point was their display picture yellow in colour, as seen in the viral screenshot.
DIGGING INTO THE PHOTOGRAPH
We now looked for the image that is being used in the photo. When we conducted a Google reverse image search, we found the image used in an article on the website of US daily 'Hartford Courant' and the photo courtesy was given to Rahmat Gul from news agency Associated Press (AP).
Next, we looked for the image in AP archives and found it published on 17 March 2016.
The caption read, "Afghan artists re-enact the mob murder of Farkhunda Malikzada, 27, an Afghan woman who was beaten to death on March 19, 2015 after being falsely accused of burning a copy of the Quran, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Thursday, 17 March 2016. The performance marked the inauguration of a memorial monument built in her honour at the site of her murder."
Although the viral screenshot is a morphed one, but with the rule of Taliban in the country after two decades and their strict interpretation of the Sharia law, women in Afghanistan fear repression, forced marriages and even persecution.
Clearly, social media users shared an altered screenshot of Al Jazeera's tweet in the backdrop of the crisis in Afghanistan.
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