COVID-19: Misinformation via TikTok creates ruckus in Tezpur Univ
Guwahati: The Sonitpur district administration in Assam has set up a zonal screening venue at Tezpur University (TU) and also a quarantine facility in the Kendriya Vidyalaya (KV). This move was already met with strong resentment from people living inside the residential campus along with students. However, as of late, the students fraternity is burning with yet another resentment.
Social media is buzzing with TikTok videos and pictures of people allegedly in quarantine moving on the campus without following any norms of masks and physical distancing. A TikTok video, in particular, showed three boys (one without mask) making videos while loitering inside the campus.
Yet another picture that went around on Facebook and various WhatsApp status was that of five girls sitting on the road without their masks on. These two instances got the ire of many netizens.
Team EastMojo did a fact-check to find out the truth.
Firstly, the video (under the profile of Pankaj Gohain) which showed three boys loitering and making the video with their luggage was time-stamped four days ago. Another recent video by one of the boys of the same group which was uploaded a day ago showed two boys out of the three waiting in a line to be registered (same clothes).
This could mean that the boys made the first video while coming to the registration desk, which was later made viral by giving false information.
Team EastMojo called Sonitpur DC Manavendra Pratap Singh to know his views on the matter. “The entire area (community hall where screening is held and KV school) is barricaded,” he said, adding: “Armed personnel are standing at all the areas so that strict flow of people from the registration desk directly to the quarantine centre is maintained.”
Meanwhile, Samaresh Barman, PRO of Tezpur University, said, “The district authority has full control over the matter and no one from outside can enter the area without a pass.”
Moreover, we found some other videos of the friends’ group in quarantine inside the KV campus and another video by Gohain where he stated that after staying a few days of quarantine, his results came negative and that he is going back to his home district.
As for the picture of the girls, team EastMojo was able to reach out to one of the friends of the group (a student of TU who wished to be anonymous) who stated that they were sitting there (on the ring-road allowed by the district administration to be used as a parking spot for the visitors) to be transported to a different quarantine facility. They were tired of the journey and hence sat there for a few minutes.
Misinformation at a highly charged time as such can create massive waves of panic and paranoia. However, one must also take note on the non-usage of masks in both situations. Usage of masks is proven to lower the rate of transmission and must always be maintained, especially when one is inside a COVID-19 testing facility.
“Misinformation and fake news are a threat to society and the cyber cell of ours are investigating on these rumours,” said Singh.