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Obama Did Not Tweet About Feeling “Shameful For A Hand Shake” With PM Modi Amid Farmers’ Protest

An image allegedly shared by former US President Barack Obama on his Twitter account shows him shaking hands with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The caption with this image reads, “Today I am shameful for a hand shake with this man… #Narendra Modi”

The photograph and claim has been shared by other social media users as well. 

https://www.facebook.com/monte.dhanjal/posts/3416620095102528

This claim comes amid the ongoing farmers’ protests in Delhi. 

Fact Check/ Verification 

We first looked through Barack Obama’s Twitter timeline but found no such tweet shared by him recently. In fact, Obama hasn’t tweeted anything related to the ongoing farmers’ agitation in India in the last two weeks. On 5 December, the date in the claim’s image, Obama posted only two tweets about his book, A Promised Land. 

We also found the viral tweet to include grammatical errors such as the usage of “shameful” when the appropriate word would have been “ashamed”. Also, contrary to what’s seen in the viral image, handshake is one word, not two. Such grammatical errors by former US President Obama are not natural. 

Grammatical errors highlighted in the viral image
Grammatical errors highlighted in the viral image

A comparison of the viral image with Obama’s actual tweet on 5 December 2020 shows obvious errors in alignment and the use of a software to manipulate his tweet. 

Comparison of the viral image with Obama’s actual tweet on 5 December 2020
Comparison of the viral image with Obama’s actual tweet on 5 December 2020

Next, we did a Google reverse image search of the photograph in context. 

Screenshot of Google reverse image search results of the claim in context
Screenshot of Google reverse image search results of the claim in context

Results of this search led us to a 2014 Economic Times article titled, “PM Narendra Modi’s US visit: Eight highlights.” With the claim’s image included, the article read, “In a four day visit to US, Modi not only met US President Barack Obama, but also sought to invite investment from prominent CEOs and urged the Indian-American community to take up a greater role in the development of India.”

Screenshot of 2014 Economic Times article on PM Modi's visit to the US
Screenshot of 2014 Economic Times article on PM Modi’s visit to the US

We found the same image on the Embassy of India, Washington, D.C., USA’s website

Screenshot from Embassy of India, Washington D.C., USA's website of PM Modi's visit to the US, 2014
Screenshot from Embassy of India, Washington D.C., USA’s website of PM Modi’s visit to the US, 2014

Other images of PM Modi and Obama during this visit wearing the same clothes as in the viral image as well as the same background can be viewed here

This claim has been debunked in our Hindi fact-check as well.

Conclusion

Former US President Barack Obama did not tweet about feeling shameful for a handshake with PM Modi. Image in the claim has been manipulated to spread fake news. 

Result: False 

Our Sources

Barack Obama’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/BarackObama

Economic Times: https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/pm-narendra-modis-us-visit-eight-highlights/articleshow/43977644.cms

Embassy of India, Washington, D.C., USA: https://www.indianembassyusa.gov.in/extra?id=21


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Nikita Vashisth
Nikita Vashisth
Nikita is a writer and editor for English fact-checking. She also leads projects to understand the misinformation and fake-news ecosystem—with an emphasis on data and psychology. Previously, she has worked with IndiaSpend, CNN-News18 and written for Citizen Matters and Mongabay-India on the environment, health, and politics. She’s a postgraduate of the Computational Journalism program at Cardiff University, Wales.

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