The photo showed the Nigerian chef holding a Guinness World Records (GWR) certificate, a few days after she completed her longest cooking marathon by an individual.
The tweet reads;
We made history
Thank you for all the love, Thank you.”
The tweet had attracted more than 154,000 likes, over 21,000 retweets and more than 4.5 million views at the time of reporting.
Who is Hilda Bassey?
Hilda Bassey Effiong, popularly known as Hilda Baci, is a Nigerian chef who became a national sensation after cooking nonstop for 100 hours in an attempt to set a World Record for the longest cooking time by an individual. This attempt caught the attention of Guinness World Records, the globally recognized authority on record-breaking achievements.
Hilda, who hails from Akwa-Ibom State, started cooking on Thursday, May 11, 2023, and continued until Monday, May 15, 2023, creating more than 55 recipes and over 100 meals designed to showcase the best of Nigerian cuisine in the marathon kitchen session.
The attempt was set to beat the previous world record of 87 hours and 45 minutes in 2019 by an Indian chef, Lata Tondon. Hilda aimed for 100 hours.
We conducted a series of findings on the image which was going viral and discovered it was manipulated.
Worthy of note about the marathon 100hrs cooking by Hilda, that Guinness World Records @GWR, through their official Twitter handle, on Tuesday, May 16, 2023, noted that the team is still reviewing the evidence from Hilda’s cooking marathon attempt.
As of the time of filing this report, Guinness World Records (GWR) is yet to officially declare Hilda Baci title holder of the longest cooking marathon by an individual.
This also shows that Guinness World Records is yet to present Hilda with a certificate.
Image Verification Results
We did a keyword search on Google using ‘has Hilda Baci received her certificate’, to further verify which media outlet reported the presentation of the certificate to Hilda by Guinness World Records as well as other webpages where the viral picture appeared.
We found that Zikoko’s blog published a report on Monday, May 15, 2023, using the manipulated image of Hilda. It was an updated version of its previously published report on May 11, 2023, when Hilda was still on the journey of setting a World Record for the longest cooking marathon by an individual.
The headline reads: “Guinness Confirms: Hilda Baci on the Journey to Breaking a Culinary World Record.“
The second sentence in the first paragraph of the post reads: “Guinness World Records officially confirmed it by sending her (Hilda Baci) a certificate…” Zikoko used the image, crediting the source to Eagle Online (another online blog).
Zikoko is a platform by Big Cabal Media that ‘amplifies African youth culture by curating and creating smart and joyful content.’
The Eagle Online, on May 16, 2023, made a post, falsely confirming that the Nigerian chef, Hilda Baci has been certified by the Guinness Book of Records.
The featured image on the post also carries the viral misleading image of Hilda holding a manipulated certificate with the Guinness World Records logo.
ROUNDCHECK’s findings showed that Guinness World Records is yet to send any certificate to Hilda as submission and review of pieces of evidence are still ongoing.
Also, neither Hilda nor GWR uploaded such image on their pages, as of the time of this report.
We conducted further findings using an image verification tool, TinEye, to verify the image.
We inserted the image showing that Hilda Baci has received a certificate from the Guinness World Record into TinEye and we found that the image was manipulated- because a similar picture has since been existing on the web.
The original person in the image is neither Hilda Bacci as claimed nor was the person holding a Guinness World Records certificate.
The image showed a black woman indicating with her hand a victory sign and holding a blank speech bubble frame.
Further findings using forensically, another image verification tool, with the aid of clone detection, suggest that the image has undergone some editing and manipulation.
Spotting The Manipulations And Red Flags
We compared both pictures (the original one and the manipulated one) by close view and zooming. We focused on the manipulated one with Hilda’s image.
First, there is a name (@symplyDAPO written on the cloth worn in the picture. This signifies the imprint of the person who did the image manipulation. A further check reveals that the handle, @symplyDAPO is known for editing images for entertainment and satire purposes.
Hence, the image did not emanate from neither Hilda nor is it an official certificate from Guinness World Records.
Secondly, the pointed fingers are slim and appear like Photoshop cropping (from the original image). That doesn’t look real.
A look at the fingernails also shows a sharp contradiction: Hilda finished her cook-a-thon on a Monday, and she had her nails neatly trimmed with no. fixed nails from the start of the 4-days cooking marathon.
Suddenly, the manipulated image showed her with fixed nails, less than 24 hours of completing 100hrs of cooking to beat and set a new World Record. Nail fixing was not the first thing she did after setting the Guinness World Records title.
Also, Hilda’s hairstyle on the first day of the cook-a-thon was a ‘cornrows with stitches’. Days after the cook-a-thon, she hasn’t changed her hairstyle (as several videos and pictures confirmed…)
But the hairstyle in the manipulated image is a ‘twisted braid’. That is a red flag.
Hilda’s hairstyle days after the cook-a-thon vs the manipulated image hairstyle. Hilda had same hairstyle throughout the cook-a-thon and seems not to have changed it yet. Photo Credit-first frame: Hilda Baci Twitter page, second frame: manipulated image
This confirms that the image was edited by placing Hilda’s face on the existing image to make it look real.
Parody Account Misleading Followers
ROUNDCHECK, during the course of its findings, also found that the Twitter account used to make the claim is a parody account and doesn’t belong to Hilda Bacci, as the Twitter name indicates. A review of the profile showed no detailed bio with a single sentence that reads;
“Guinness World Record For the longest cooking world Record (parody)”[sic]
In the bio, there was an indication that the account is a parody. It was created in May 2023 and has attracted over 62,000 followers, with one following.
This conclusion is supported by the fact that Hilda Baci, the supposed owner of the account, had already demonstrated her culinary skills in 2022 by successfully launching her own food restaurant as stated on her official website.
During our findings, we observed that the parody account is following a single account named Hilda Baci’s Cookathon @hildabacicooks (the real Hilda Baci account) which was created in March 2023 with over 115,000 followers.
The Hilda Baci’s Cookathon account provides a link to Hilda Baci’s official website where she announced the details of her cook-a-thon, including the specific location and time. Also, the website provided insight into Hilda Baci’s profile and her journey into the culinary space.
Further findings on the parody account showed that the first tweet made by the account was made on May 15, 2023, which turned out to be the same day Hilda Bacci ended her cooking marathon, as reported here. That shows that the user created it to gain an audience using Hilda’s trending feat.
The first tweet made on the parody account, which garnered 195,000 likes, over 23,000 retweets, and 1,386 quote retweets, falsely claimed in the tweet thread that the page is the official page of the chef; but it was a parody account to mislead followers.
Meanwhile, the original Hilda Bassesy’s Twitter page gave a disclaimer that parody accounts are springing up in the space of the 4-days cook-a-thon. The handler then added a graphic (as seen below) of original handles of the Guinness World Records prospect.
The claim of the photo showing Hilda Baci with the Guinness World Record certificate is INCORRECT and misleading. The Twitter account used to circulate the claim is a parody.
As at the time of filing this report, Guinness World Records is yet to present Hilda Bassey a certificate; although she has completed the marathon 100hrs cooking, her evidence is still being uploaded and undergoing review by the Guinness team.