Speed Reads

ugh

Dozens of Instagram accounts claim they're feeding Sudanese children. They're fake.

@SudanMealProject isn't actually counting on your likes to hand out meals to children in Sudan.

Neither are @SudanMealProjectOfficial, @SudanMealOfficial, @sudan.meals.project, or pretty much any other Instagram accounts claiming to help people displaced during months of uprisings in Sudan. They're all just fishing for followers and engagement by falsely claiming they'll send a meal to Sudan for every like or share, Taylor Lorenz reports for The Atlantic.

Protests have rocked the northeast African country for months on end, forcing autocratic President Omar Al-Bashir from power in February but continuing as a military council now runs the country. Security forces have continually stormed protest camps, leaving dozens dead each time. It's all sparked a global outcry for those civilian protesters — though not necessarily because they're facing widespread starvation.

Sudan hasn't experienced a declared famine since the early 2000's, and near-famine conditions are actually more of the case in South Sudan, which is a completely separate nation. Yet dozens of Instagram accounts, all with the same steel-blue logo, are claiming they're helping the situation by purportedly sending meals overseas. They often claim one share of a post correlates to one meal sent overseas, which, as The Atlantic documents, is not true. They're largely just looking to grow their follower counts and engagement rates.

To make matters worse, as these accounts are exposed, they often change their Instagram handles to names like "@fakesudanmeal.project" and ask for shares to "expose" that the named account was fake all along. Instead, Lorenz recommends "amplifying the voices of actual Sudanese activists and organizations already working in the country, including Save the Children, UNICEF, and the International Rescue Committee." Read more at The Atlantic.