Guwahati: Fake news is not something new to the Internet. With more accessibility to resources in hand, fake news items have spread like wildfire over the years. The deadly COVID-19 pandemic is no exception.
In the wake of the deadly pandemic, we bring you the top fake news of 2020 related to the disease in India:
1. Muslim man spitting on food at an Indian restaurant during the outbreak of coronavirus in India
A video circulating on social media and WhatsApp showed a Muslim man deliberately spitting on food packets before packing them for delivery.
The video was debunked by factchecking website AltNews who claimed that the video was uploaded by an user on April 27, 2019 long before the first case of coronavirus was detected in China. The factchecking site also clarified that the same video was doing the rounds in other countries claiming it to be a restaurant of that region.
2. Muslims licking plates and spoons to spread coronavirus
A video that recently went viral on social media and WhatsApp soon after the Tablighi Jamaat incident in Delhi, has been doing the rounds claiming that Muslims at Nizamuddin Markaz in Delhi licked spoons and plates to spread the coronavirus in the congregation.
The video first appeared online on July 31, 2018 on a video-on-demand site named Vimeo that showed Dawoodi Bohras licking leftover food from utensils not to waste even a morsel. As a common tradition, Muslims sometimes share a big plate of food among five to six people by eating together from a plate. As it is evident from the video, they were licking off the leftover food from their plates and spoon so that none of them went to waste. Below is the original video of the Dawoodi Bohras uploaded on Vimeo on July 31, 2018.
3. Disaster management act implemented across the country
In the wake of coronavirus spreading in India, a WhatsApp message has been doing the rounds on Internet claiming that disaster management act has been implemented in the country.
The message reads: “Mandate to all residents. Tonight 12 (midnight) onwards Disaster Management Act has been implemented across the country. According to this update, apart from the Govt department no other citizen is allowed to post any update or share any forward related to Coronavirus and it is being punishable offence. Group admins are requested to post the above update and inform the groups.”
According to Disaster Management Act, there are no provisions to prohibit citizens to talk, update or share any news related to a disaster.
4. Ministry of communication and digital economy to record all phone calls and monitor social media
A WhatsApp message doing the rounds on the Internet that the ministry of communication and digital economy has introduced new rules and regulations from 4th April 2020.
The above message has been forwarded on WhatsApp by many believing the news to be true. The message claimed that from April 4, 2020, all phone calls will be recorded, social media handles monitored and Android phones would be connected to the ministry. The Assam Police, in a tweet, refuted the claims of the message and stated it to be false.
On further research by our fact-checking team at EastMojo, it was evident that there is no ministry of communication and digital economy in India but there exists a ministry just like this in Nigeria. So, just like the Nigerian email scams, this too turned out to be absolutely fake.
Fake news makers are trying their best to make people believe in news that don’t exist and we, at EastMojo, are trying our best to debunk every fake news we can lay our hands on. If you come across any such news that you think might be fake and want us to fact-check it, then please forward all the details of the news/video/WhatsApp message to email@example.com.