Messi didn’t double PSG’s Instagram followers

13 August 2021
What was claimed

Lionel Messi signing with Paris Saint-Germain doubled the club’s Instagram followers from 19.8 million to 40.2 million in 24 hours.

Our verdict

It didn’t. After his signing was announced, the club’s Instagram followers increased by about 3 million.

A Facebook post claims Paris Saint-Germain’s (PSG) Instagram followers more than doubled in the 24 hours after the club signed Lionel Messi, increasing by over 20 million. 

The picture shows two images of PSG’s Instagram account side-by-side, one showing its follower count at 19.8 million and the other at 40.2 million. 

A picture caption states: “PSG followers before and after signing Messi. 20.2m followers in 24 hours. Leo Messi is bigger than the club.”

Despite the excitement, this didn’t happen. (And it would have been an increase of 20.4 million, not 20.2 million, for what it’s worth.)

Freely available social analytics tools show that in the 24 hours from when the club made the announcement on Twitter on 10 August the number of PSG’s Instagram followers increased from 41 million to 44 million. In the previous 30 days it increased by around 9 million.

So while Messi’s signing has certainly lifted the club’s popularity online, the impact wasn’t as dramatic as reported.

This article is part of our work fact checking potentially false pictures, videos and stories on Facebook. You can read more about this—and find out how to report Facebook content—here. For the purposes of that scheme, we’ve rated this claim as false because PSG’s Instagram’s followers didn’t double after Messi signed.

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