• Ankuran Dutta

#CheckTheFake -1: Celebrating 365 days of non-stop #fakenews

April 1, 2020: April Fool's Day

is an annual custom celebrated on first April consisting of practical jokes and hoaxes for several centuries by different cultures. The custom of setting aside a day for playing harmless pranks upon one's neighbour has been relatively common in the world historically. April Fools’ Day traditions include playing hoaxes or practical jokes on others, often yelling “April Fools!” at the end to clue in the subject of the April Fools’ Day prank. In India too, the day has been observed for centuries to make another person fool by telling a fake story. But, #fakenews has become so common in our day to day life that we consume hundreds of #fakenews every day.

Posts from the websites of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization received only 364,483 ‘engagements’ on social media as compared to combined 76 US sites spreading misinformation about Covid-19 that received whooping 52,053,542 engagements, which is 142 times that of the legitimate source (NewsGuard).

FAKE: HealthImpactNews.com, a health-related website on Feb 25, 2020 claimed that Coconut oil is a possible treatment against #COVID19.

FACT: WHO says till date, there is no vaccine and no specific antiviral medicine to prevent or treat #COVID19. WHO does not recommend self-medication with any medicines, including antibiotics, as a prevention or cure for #COVID19. The most effective ways to protect yourself and others against #COVID19 are to frequently clean your hands, cover your cough with the bend of elbow or tissue, and maintain a distance of at least 1 meter (3 feet) from people who are coughing or sneezing.

#CheckTheFake is a movement against #Infodemic in this crisis, initiated by Dr. Anamika Ray Memorial Trust #ARMT (www.armt.in) in collaboration with #NENow to create awareness on #fakenews on #Coronavirus and improve media literacy through #Cartoons. ARMT-Research

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