WebQoof Recap: Trolls Target Safoora; Experts on AC During COVID

Here’s a quick round-up of the WhatsApp forwards and fake tweets that misled the public this week. 

5 min read
WebQoof Recap: Trolls Target Safoora; Experts on AC During COVID

From fake forwards to malign and discredit the image of Jamia student and activist Safoora Zargar to viral clip claiming that cops were not allowed to enter certain areas in Mumbai during Ramzan, this week saw a barrage of misinformation on social media.

Here's a quick round-up of fake forwards that misled the public this week.

1. ‘Unwed & Pregnant’: Trolls Target Safoora Zargar With Fake Claims

Many social media posts targeting Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI) scholar and activist Safoora Zargar for her marital status and pregnancy are doing the rounds, with people claiming that she is unmarried and that her pregnancy was discovered when she was lodged in Tihar Jail.


Facebook and Twitter are flooded with messages claiming that 27-year-old Zargar, who was arrested by the Delhi Police’s special cell on 10 April for her alleged involvement in the Delhi riots and subsequently booked under the draconian Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), learnt about her pregnancy after she underwent a medical examination in Tihar Jail.

Several people also linked this to Shaheen Bagh, insinuating that this is the “truth” behind the Shaheen Bagh protests.

Not only are these claims baseless and false, they also reflect the vitriolic trolling that activists, students and many others are exposed to on a daily basis. We reached out to Safoora’s sister, fellow activists and her husband who debunked these claims.

You can read the full story here.

2. Is It Safe to Use Air Conditioners at Home? Experts Weigh In

As summer months firmly settle in and debate rages on whether this heat will kill the coronavirus, there is a second, more immediate concern – Is it safe to use air conditioners? Or will ACs increase the risk of spreading COVID-19?

The fear probably stems from a study that was published on 2 April about a restaurant in China which links nine cases of coronavirus infections in Guangzhou to one 63-year-old woman. Now, most of them hadn't had any contact with her, except they sat on tables near her in the same restaurant.

Experts argue that home ACs – which is window and split ACs – might not pose a health risk. Dr Jacob John, who formerly headed the Indian Council for Medical Research's Centre for Advanced Research in Virology said there is no one rule to determine whether air conditioning is better or ventilation is.

While there are guidelines about how to use air conditioners and what is the optimum temperature for it, The Quint spoke to experts who pointed out that there might not be a blanket rule for all situations.

Read the full story here.

3. No Link to Ramzan, Viral Clip Shows Argument Between Cops & Abuser

A video of policemen amid a big crowd is being shared with a false claim that it shows how cops were not allowed to enter an area in Mumbai during Ramzan prayers. The claim shared with the video also says that the incident took place in the city’s Kurla West.

An archived link of the video can be found <a href="">here</a>.
An archived link of the video can be found here.
(Source: Facebook/Screenshot)

However, we found that the incident had nothing to do with cops not being allowed to enter owing to Ramzan prayers or the mosque. It was actually an altercation that broke out after a man abused and threatened the police.

The man has now been booked under Section 353 (Assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty), 188 (Disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant), 269 (Negligent act likely to spread infection of disease danger­ous to life) of the Indian Penal Code and Section 51B of Disaster Management Act 2004.

Read the full story here.


4. Old Video From Pak Shared as Women Flouting Norms Amid Lockdown

A video which shows a few men and women jumping off the balcony of what looks like a shopping complex, is being massively shared on Facebook with a claim that the video shows how certain women are flouting the norms and are going out to shop despite the lockdown amid the coronavirus scare.

WebQoof Recap: Trolls Target Safoora; Experts on AC During COVID

However, we found out that the video is from Pakistan’s Karachi and is as old as 2015.

On fragmenting the video into several keyframes and then conducting a reverse search, we came across a Reddit thread which had the same video. In the comments section below, we saw a YouTube link which was nearly five years old and had also carried the same visuals.

Further, if one listens to the video carefully, at around 2:12 minutes, the person in the video can be heard saying ‘chapa pada hai bhai, FIA wale ka’ which loosely translates to ‘FIA has raided the place’.

Clearly, a five-year-old video is being circulated to claim that women are flouting lockdown norms and going out to shop.

Read the full story here.

5. IAF Helicopter Showered Petals on Migrant Workers? Not Really

Indian Air Force (IAF) aircraft and helicopters on Sunday, 3 May, conducted a flypast and showered flowers on hospitals tending to coronavirus patients across the country. This was a part of a nationwide campaign by the armed forces to show support for those involved in fighting the COVID-19 outbreak.

Following this, a viral image was shared to falsely claim that an IAF helicopter was throwing flower petals on migrant workers, stranded at various places across the country because of the lockdown.

An archived version of the Tweet can be accessed <a href="">here</a>.
An archived version of the Tweet can be accessed here.
(Source: Twitter/Screenshot)

However, the image in circulation has been photoshopped using two separate images, in a bid to propagate false claims.

You can read the full story here.

You can read all our coronavirus fact-checks here.

(Not convinced of a post or information you came across online and want it verified? Send us the details on WhatsApp at 9643651818, or e-mail it to us at and we'll fact-check it for you. You can also read all our fact-checked stories here.)

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