A picture of five girls sitting on the road inside Tezpur University campus in Assam’s Sonitpur district without wearing their masks is going viral on social media
A picture of five girls sitting on the road inside Tezpur University campus in Assam’s Sonitpur district without wearing their masks is going viral on social media|EastMojo image
ASSAM

COVID-19: Misinformation via TikTok creates ruckus in Tezpur Univ

Social media is buzzing with TikTok videos and pictures of people allegedly in quarantine moving on Tezpur University campus without masks, physical distancing

Amlan Jyoti Das

Amlan Jyoti Das

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.

Screengrab of the video with three boys walking around the TU campus
Screengrab of the video with three boys walking around the TU campus EastMojo image

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.

Five girls sitting in the road without their masks on
Five girls sitting in the road without their masks on EastMojo image

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).

One of the boys was seen in a different video waiting in line for registration
One of the boys was seen in a different video waiting in line for registration EastMojo image
Another boy from the video was seen waiting in line for registration
Another boy from the video was seen waiting in line for registration EastMojo image

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.”

Screengrab from another TikTok video showing the boys in the quarantine centre
Screengrab from another TikTok video showing the boys in the quarantine centre EastMojo image

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.

Screengrab of another TikTok video of the boys who were now going back to their home districts after their tests came negative
Screengrab of another TikTok video of the boys who were now going back to their home districts after their tests came negative EastMojo image

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.

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EastMojo
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