Social Media’s Achilles Heel: – The Achraf Hakimi Debacle and the Need for Greater Scrutiny and Verification in the Age of Twitter Blue”

By Sam Ssenono

In the age of social media, information spreads rapidly, but so does misinformation. The recent spread of fake news surrounding Moroccan footballer Achraf Hakimi highlights the dangerous power of fake news and how it can cause irreparable harm.
The ‘news’ that Paris Saint-Germain defender Achraf Hakimi managed to escape the possibility of losing half his fortune to his ex-wife due to their divorce because most of his assets were in the name of his mother, has now been labelled as “fake news.” According to the news stories which have been circulating online for close to a week now, Hakimi’s wife Hiba Abouk, was said to have lost out on a huge divorce settlement after finding out that the Moroccan international barely had anything in his name. ( No court records can back this up)
French journalist and sports reporter Gilles Verdez was the first to come out to call the reports “fake news.” In a report published on Le 10 Sport, Verdez said that the news claiming that the bulk of Hakimi’s €70 million fortune is in the hands of his mother is simply untrue. “It’s not true that he put the property in his mother’s name, that wouldn’t be possible,” he said, adding that the move would not be possible in France where the player is currently based, nor in Spain where he and Abouk both grew up, even in his home country – Morocco.

Marriage Laws in Europe.
Indeed, a simple cursory search about the default laws governing marriages in most European countries the common law is that where all property acquired during the marriage by one or both spouses is considered marital property and is equally owned by both spouses.
This means that in the event of a divorce, the assets will be divided equally between the spouses. However, there are variations to this rule depending on the country. For example, in France, a couple can opt for a “separation of property” regime, where each spouse retains ownership of their assets and income. In Germany, there is a third option called the “partnership agreement” where couples can agree on how to distribute their assets in the event of a divorce. In any case, the law requires that these agreements are made in writing and with the assistance of a notary or a lawyer to ensure that both parties understand the implications of the agreement. Additionally, these agreements cannot be made with the purpose of avoiding the legal consequences of marriage or to commit fraud. In the case of Achraf Hakimi, it is highly unlikely that he could have transferred his assets to his mother’s name to avoid sharing them with his wife in the event of a divorce. Such an act would be considered fraudulent and would be punishable by law in Europe.

Fakes news and twitter blue.
Social media platforms have been used as a breeding ground for misinformation and propaganda, and the situation has only been exacerbated by the advent of paid verification on Twitter. While verification was previously meant to ensure authenticity and credibility, it has been exploited by some who use it to spread falsehoods to a wider audience.
The fact that even Twitter blue verified pages can spread fake news highlights the need for greater vigilance and accountability from social media platforms. While the onus is on the users to be responsible with their online behavior, platforms must also take steps to limit the spread of fake news by monitoring and removing harmful content.
The recent introduction of paid verification on Twitter by Elon Musk has sparked a range of opinions, with Elon hailing it as opportunity for Twitter to generate revenue and other users raising concerns about the potential for an increased spread of fake news. While these concerns are valid, it is important to acknowledge that the previous verification system was also opaque and often seemed arbitrary. Moving forward, it would be beneficial for Twitter to establish a clear and transparent criteria for the verification process, based on factors such as account activity, reach, and impact. Additionally, investing in technology that can detect and flag fake news, as well as providing users with tools to verify the authenticity of information, would be a significant step towards ensuring a safe and reliable platform for information sharing and dialogue.

The writer is a coffee farmer from Luweero