Claim: All data relating to Qwikloan have been lost and cannot be restored

Source: Online platform, News @ 7

Verdict: SATIRE

Researched by Rabiu Alhassan

A news report claiming that all data relating to MTN’s mobile lending service, Qwikloan have been lost and cannot be restored is satire.

The claim which was first made in an article on online platform News @ 7, alleges that an “undersea fibre cut that stores information shared by third parties running the company’s USSDs” has caused the data loss.

“MTN loses Qwikloan data to undersea fibre cut,” the headline reads, with the story further calling on loan defaulters and customers owing the company to volunteer information about the last loans they took and when they are supposed to pay.

The satire-rated article by News @ 7 was published on January 18 and is being widely shared on WhatsApp, Facebook, and other websites.

While the word “satire” indicates that the article may be an attempt to ridicule or be humorous, it is being widely shared by other websites, on messaging platforms and on social media with no such disclaimer.

Fibre Cable cut

International undersea fibre cable cut caused MTN subscribers across Ghana and other African countries to experience challenges in accessing data services and international outbound calls between January 16 and 18.

The situation generated mass outrage among MTN users in Ghana and businesses that are reliant on their services, with concerns that the telecom company delayed in communicating their struggles to customers.

Subsequently, the telecom company embarked on a media blitz to apologize to their customers and update them on efforts to resolve the challenges.

A statement published on MTN Ghana’s Twitter handle on January 18, now confirms that data services across Ghana have been fully restored.

Satirical content

Satirical website, News @ 7 explicitly warns readers of its content that the platform is not a source of reliable news.

On its “disclaimer and who we are”  page it says even though it is a satirical website they publish verified stories once in a while. These verified stories are tagged as such; VERIFIED NEWS.

In the case of this particular story, News @ 7 clearly states at the bottom of the article that the rating is Satire. The platform explains it to mean, “the use of humour, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people’s stupidity or vices, particularly in the context of contemporary politics and other topical issues.”

Update: MTN reacts

The telecom company has debunked rumours about the loss of data on its Qwikloan services, saying the information is “untrue” and should be disregarded.

“Data on Qwikloan are stored securely and under no circumstance will an undersea fibre cut affect data storage for the service,” MTN further said in a statement.