Abrar Ifaz

Research Officer, Dismislab
False claim linking Nas Daily and Dr. Yunus spread through Facebook Ad
This article is more than 4 months old

False claim linking Nas Daily and Dr. Yunus spread through Facebook Ad

Abrar Ifaz

Research Officer, Dismislab

On October 26, a video surfaced on the Facebook page “Voice of Bangladesh,” alleging that Dr. Muhammad Yunus had provided funds to Nuseir Yassin, the founder of Nas Daily, for the production of promotional videos on his behalf. This video has been promoted through advertising on Facebook. However, Nuseir has dismissed the claim asserting its falsehood. The same page has a history of sharing multiple instances of fake news, including deepfakes, which have been subject to fact-checking reports by at least three different fact-checking agencies. These misleading pieces of information have also been promoted through Facebook advertisements.

The video posted on the “Voice of Bangladesh” page alleges that Nuseir Yassin, the internationally acclaimed vlogger linked with Nas Daily, received funds to produce promotional videos for Dr. Muhammad Yunus. The video showcases an image of Dr. Yunus and Nuseir, drawing attention to a “grey suitcase.” According to the video’s assertion, the suitcase contained $80,000, purportedly accepted by Nuseir as payment. According to “Voice of Bangladesh” video, the editing of the promotional video has been completed, and Dr. Yunus will provide an additional $50,000 after the video’s publication. The video also claims that Project Nightfall, another vlogger formerly associated with Nas Daily, has verified this information.

The image used in the aforementioned video featuring Dr. Yunus and Nuseir was originally posted on Dr. Yunus’s Facebook and Instagram accounts on September 30. The caption accompanying the image stated, “Professor Muhammad Yunus meets with vlogger Nuseir Yassin, known as Nas who is most notable for creating over a 1000 daily one-minute-long videos on social media, under the page Nas Daily, with a combined total of 65 million followers to exchange from Prof. Yunus´ lifelong work in poverty alleviation and financial inclusion, to the development of social business and 3ZERO Clubs.”

To ascertain the veracity of the claim regarding the creation of a video on behalf of Dr. Yunus in exchange for financial remuneration, Dismislab reached out to Nas Daily for clarification. Nuseir, the founder of Nas Daily, categorically stated, “This is the most hilarious piece of disinformation the world has ever seen. Clearly it’s not true. Was just a casual meeting to get to know each other. No video was made. I also no longer have an affiliation with Project Nightfall. And what the hell is that bag? I wish Dr Yunus well. And I hope people in Bangladesh don’t believe such disinformation!”

The video posted on the “Voice of Bangladesh” page featuring Dr. Yunus and Nas Daily has been promoted as an advertisement on Facebook from October 26 to October 28. During this period, the post has reached an audience of 300,000 to 350,000 viewers.

The page describes itself on Facebook as a ‘news and media’ outlet, and reports from multiple fact-checking organizations in the past provide evidence of its history of spreading disinformation or misleading news.

A few days prior to the mentioned post, on October 17, the page published another post related to Dr. Yunus, claiming that he had provided assistance of 10 billion taka to Israel. This post was also promoted through two Facebook advertisements (1, 2). Subsequently, fact-checking organisations, including Boom Bangladesh and Rumor Scanner, verified the information and published reports stating that the information was false. According to the Facebook Ad Library, this disinformation was displayed to an audience ranging from 70,000 to 80,000 and from 45,000 to 50,000 individuals in separate instances.

In an interview with the news agency AFP regarding the context of providing financial assistance to Israel, Dr. Yunus stated, “I ignored the campaigns with the hope that it will stop on its own. But in recent months the disinformation and smear campaigns have worsened to an unprecedented level.”

Also, a video of Tarique Rahman was posted on the same page on October 12. Later, fact-checking organization Fact-Watch reported that the video was created with the help of artificial intelligence technology. Meta later removed the video following a report by the British media Financial Times. On the same page, a press release sent by the BNP was posted on October 28th, stating, “Conveying respects for ‘Lakshmi Puja’ and ‘Probarona Purnima,’ the date of the gathering (of BNP) on October 28th has been changed.” This post was advertised on Facebook as an advertisement and was shown to an audience of 20,000 to 25,000 people. However, according to the report from Rumor Scanner, this press release was found to be fake.