This was among a litany of forwarded messages ranging from “WHO claims antibodies from past Covid infections help as a natural vaccine in unvaccinated people” to “Free dental work for seniors under a recently released Medicare stimulus announced by the ministry.” of Public Health” that TOI recently exposed through its ‘Times Verified’ campaign.
Even as fears of a fourth Covid wave loom over India’s shores and concerns over Russian disinformation campaigns flood global social media timelines, Times Verified — an initiative that went national in December 2021 — has been diligently doing the vital work it plans to do. laundry to do: help stop the toxic flow of falsehoods and half-truths that infect domestic social networks.
As part of this campaign, readers send unverified or suspicious messages circulated on social media to this newspaper at WhatsApp number 9819888887. Our panel of experts, made up of reporters, editors and representatives from the BMC and government, makes immediately use their sources to verify the credibility of these headlines.
So far, nearly 50% of the more than 48,000 messages TOI has received as part of the campaign have been proven false and promptly sanctioned with our bold red stamp shouting, “This message is fake.” Recent falsehoods include this headline: Wuhan scientists warn that 1 in 3 will die from the new virus ‘Neo-Cov’ which has a high mortality rate and a high infection rate and is incurable.”
In the past two months, the Center has blocked more than 60 social media accounts for spreading fake news against India. Not long ago, the Karnataka government, concerned about falsehoods encouraging the public to deviate from the well-defined guidelines of the health and tax authorities, warned against doctors who allegedly spread misinformation about Covid-19 on social media.
Since misinformation not only spreads faster than microbes in times of crisis, but can also have dangerous consequences, it’s the job of our ‘chain breakers’ – readers who regularly forward questionable messages to help TOI identify red flags and vaccinate you. with the truth – becomes important.
Among these watchful ‘chain breakers’ are Haryana’s Dhiraj Kukreja, Himachal Pradesh’s Mukul Kumar, Delhi’s Suruchi Beri, Maharashtra’s Payal Shah and Roopa Moolya. To join this brigade in the fight against fake news, forward all the terrifying news circulating on social media to our expert panel and let us separate the wheat from the chaff for you.