How Tiktok account created viral video of Senegalese president criticising France

Two days after Senegal presidential election, a video alleged to be of the eventual winner, Bassirou Diomaye Faye, appeared online, berating France.

The video, which went viral, has been shared by multiple accounts with different captions. In one instance, the caption in the video read, “France to leave Senegal… The young Senegal President’s speech.

“It is high time France lift its knees off our necks and put an end to this unjust oppression. Centuries of misery, human trafficking, colonialism, and neo-colonialism have caused immeasurable suffering. It is time to put an end to this cycle of oppression,” the speaker in the video said.

He continued by saying that France, Senegal’s colonial master, should stay out of the country’s internal affairs.

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He also criticised France during the news conference for what he saw as the European nation’s incapacity to allow the country to prosper and argued against the Senegalese government’s planned decision to embrace an anti-terrorism programme.

The video has been posted on TikTok, X previously known as Twitter, Reddit, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, and WhatsApp. It has gone viral on social media in Nigeria and several other African nations.

We found the video in more than 100 accounts across these platforms, and it has generated more than two million reactions.

The video (archived here) was posted on Tuesday afternoon on X by @von_Bismack, a Nigerian account with over 100,000 followers. The video has received over 61,000 views, 32 comments, 723 retweets, and 1214 likes since it was posted.

Likewise, @Africanhub_, an X user, shared the video with a different caption, saying: “It is over for France in Senegal. Mr. Bassirou Diomaye Faye (The new president of Senegal). Your comments on this.”

Additionally, Gbadebo Rhodes Vivour, a former contender for governor of Lagos State in the most recent general election, posted the video.

On Instagram, a Nigerian musician popularly known as Charly Boy, uploaded the video to his more than 260,000 followers on March 27, 2024, and it has been viewed more than 71,000 times. 

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On Facebook, the video could be found on a Nigerian based in the United States, with the caption: Lovely. Senegal new President. It could also be found here, here and here. On Linkedin, the video can be found here.

Verification process

In order to verify the authenticity and find the creator of the video, we subjected the video to the INVID video verifier, where a Google Reverse Image search was conducted on the key frames generated and found that the person in the video was actually Senegalese just appointed Prime Minister, Ousmane Sonko, and not President Bassirou Diomaye Faye.

We also discovered that the footage was taken from a speech that Sonko gave at a news conference in Dakar, Senegal, in July of 2021. On July 2, 2021, he posted the speech’s transcript on his X account.

In contrast to what is shown in the viral video, Sonko spoke to his audience in French and not English.

He criticised France during the news conference for what he saw as the European nation’s incapacity to allow the country to prosper and argued against the Senegalese government’s planned decision to embrace an anti-terrorism programme.

The video could also be found on Senegal7, a local media organisation in the country, which posted the video on Youtube on July 2, 2021.

We were also able to determine that the video has been online since September 2023 and appeared to have been created by a TikTok account named The African News (@newsafricanews).

The video was shared by the X account, @marucs_herve, a pro-African independent account that frequently posts about African countries relationships with Western countries, especially France, on September 26, 2023, and has generated more than 80,000 views.

Most videos shared online have @newsafricanews displayed on the screen, indicating it was downloaded from the Tiktok account.

Through @newsafricanews, he said the video he made in November 2023 was deleted, noting that he was reposting it again.

The video reappeared online and went viral after a Kenyan-based TikToker, @elvo_prezzo2043, with 78,000 followers, uploaded it on March 26, 2024, two days after the Senegal election. The video has now generated more than 1.700 million views on the account, 117,000 likes, and 11,000 comments.

From the 1600s, when the west African nation was colonised, until its independence in August 1960, Senegal and France have maintained a close relationship due to several centuries of shared history. Since then, the country and France have continued to have strong commercial, military, and national security ties. Senegal has kept French as its official language to this day, even in the fields of education and government.

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Within days of his release from prison, Faye and his fiery mentor, Ousmane Sonko—who had been barred from running in the election due to a defamation conviction—were catapulted into the centre of Senegalese politics.

Owing to the dissolution of the Patriots of Senegal (PASTEF) party in July 2023 for causing unrest, Faye ran for office as an independent. Sonko created the PASTEF party in 2014, which supported Faye.

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Shehu Olayinka is a data journalist, researcher specialising in investigating disinformation and digital manipulation.


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