WebQoof Recap: Trump on COVID-19 Tests; ‘Prodigy’ Prathap’s Drones

Here’s a quick round-up of all that misled the public this week.

Published24 Jul 2020, 12:46 PM IST
WebQoof
5 min read

From Trump's claims on COVID-19 testing figures to 'drone scientist' Prathap's many claims of his achievements, here’s a quick round-up of all that misled the public this week:

1. Trump Says US, India Lead in COVID-19 Testing, Facts Say Otherwise

On Tuesday, 21 July, US President Donald Trump stated that the nation was “leading the world” in terms of COVID-19 testing, but the data available in the public domain doesn’t quite back Trump’s claims.

While touting the number of tests done in the US, Trump also added that India ranked second in testing.

“Second country is India with 12 million (tests). Then you have seven million, six million, and four million. I think that we are doing a tremendous amount of testing,” Trump said.

But none of the claims add up. Here’s a look at the numbers to understand where the two countries stand.

Trump’s COVID-10 testing numbers don’t provide the full story.
Trump’s COVID-10 testing numbers don’t provide the full story.
(Photo: The Quint)

A standard form of measurement allows one to compare the performance of different countries across the world. Such comprehensive analysis of the COVID-19 testing can be found on the Our World In Data (OWID) website.

According to OWID, so far, US is lagging behind UAE, Denmark, Iceland and Russia in the total number of tests conducted per 1,000 population. Compensating for the population difference between countries by measuring tests per 1,000 allows for a more fruitful comparison.

You can read the full story here.

2. 13% Images on Public-Political WhatsApp Groups Misinform: Study

Nearly 13 percent of the images that are circulated on public-political WhatsApp groups in India peddle misinformation.

This was found in a study titled ‘Images and misinformation in political groups: evidence from WhatsApp in India’ conducted by two MIT researchers between the end of 2018 and mid-2019 – a period that included events like the Pulwama attack, the Balakot airstrike and the Lok Sabha elections.

According to the study, there are three main categories of image misinformation:

  1. Out of context: This essentially means an old image which has been taken out of context and re-shared.
  2. Photoshopped: These are simple doctored images.
  3. Memes: These are mostly fake quotes attributed to prominent people or made-up statistics.

These three categories of images constitute over 70 percent of misinformation in the sample.

You can read the full story here.

3. The Truth Behind Many Claims of Prodigy ‘Drone Scientist’ Prathap

Prathap NM, a young man from Karnataka, also hailed as India’s youngest ‘drone scientist’, found himself in a controversy after a German company stated that the drone flashed by Prathap as his creation during a TV interview was actually developed by them and displayed at an Exhibition centre in 2018.

Despite several doubts being raised on the veracity of his achievements, Prathap has been unable to furnish proof.
Despite several doubts being raised on the veracity of his achievements, Prathap has been unable to furnish proof.
(Source: BillzEye Website/Screenshot)

Prathap rose to fame with his claim of having made 600 drones from e-waste at the age of 22, a story which was covered by several news outlets including Deccan Herald and India Times. However, the ‘young scientist’ is yet to produce any proof whatsoever to support his long list of achievements.

After several doubts were raised regarding the achievements of ‘drone boy’ Prathap, he appeared on a news show hosted by Kannada channel ‘BTV News Kannada’ to issue clarifications and furnish proofs.

According to a statement released by a German company ‘BillzEye Multicoptersysteme’, the drone alongside Prathap in the image flashed during the interview actually belongs to them.

You can read the full story here.

4. Social Media Falls For Fictional Story of Teacher Bullied on Zoom

Several social media users shared a viral image claiming to show a 55-year-old teacher allegedly being bullied in an online class on Zoom amid COVID-19.

However, we found that the information has been taken from a Facebook post that clearly stated in the end that it is a fictional story written “in solidarity to all teachers who are victims of Zoom bombing by shameless students.”

Several media outlets and social media users fell for a fictional story that a 55-year-old man was bullied online.
Several media outlets and social media users fell for a fictional story that a 55-year-old man was bullied online.
(Source: Twitter/Screenshot)

Several media outlets including The Tribune, India Today, India TV, Loksatta,and International Business Times also fell for the fictional story and went on to publish it as a real incident.

The Instagram handle of ‘tedthestoner’ had credited the fictional story to Facebook user ‘Syed Mohamad Fahim.’

We found that the user had shared the same text on 30 June with the last line mentioning: “I write this fictional story in solidarity to all teachers who are victims of Zoom bombing by shameless students. May Allah give you patience and these students hedayah.”

You can read the full story here.

5. Priyanka Gandhi Tweets Old Images as Recent Floods in Assam, Bihar

Congress’ General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra tweeted two images of floods on Sunday, 19 July, to highlight the ongoing crisis in Assam, Bihar, and Uttar Pradesh. However, the images in the tweet are from 2019 and 2017.

Both the images used by Priyanka Gandhi in her tweet are old.
Both the images used by Priyanka Gandhi in her tweet are old.
(Source: Twitter/Screenshot)

In the now deleted tweet, Gandhi wrote “असम, बिहार और यूपी के कई क्षेत्रों में आई बाढ़ से जनजीवन अस्त व्यस्त है। लाखों लोगों पर संकट के बादल छाए हुए हैं। बाढ़ से प्रभावित लोगों की मदद के लिए हम तत्पर हैं। मैं कांग्रेस कार्यकर्ताओं व नेताओं से अपील करती हूं कि प्रभावित लोगों की मदद करने का हर संभव प्रयास करें।”

When translated to English, the message reads, “Floods in many areas of Assam, Bihar and UP have disrupted life. Crisis clouds over millions of people. We look forward to help the people affected by the flood. I appeal to Congress workers and leaders to do everything possible to help the affected people.”

A simple reverse search reveals that the first image is a PTI photo from Assam’s Morigaon's district when it was submerged in 2019. The image can be found in news reports from last year.

The reverse search of the second image also revealed that it's a PTI photo from the Araria district of Bihar, when it was flooded in 2017. The image also appeared in several news reports in 2017.

You can read the full story 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 webqoof@thequint.com and we'll fact-check it for you. You can also read all our fact-checked stories here.)

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