WebQoof Recap: Of Kerala Elephant Death & COVID-19 Spread

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

Published12 Jun 2020, 08:07 AM IST
WebQoof
3 min read

From fake news surrounding the death of a pregnant elephant in Kerala’s Palakkad district to confusion over whether common contaminated surfaces can spread coronavirus, here’s a quick round-up of the misinformation that misled the public this week.

1. Five Fake News Stories Debunked Related to Death of Kerala Pregnant Elephant

The news of a pregnant elephant that died in Kerala, on 27 May, after she ate a fruit that was stuffed with explosives, allegedly left by some locals, drew criticism and shock from people across the country.

While the news has created a lot of furore, rumour mills have been working overtime spreading misinformation.

The Quint's WebQoof team has categorically debunked several fake news stories to present only the truth to you.

You can read the full story here.

2. Indian Ham Radio Enthusiast Did Not Connect With SpaceX Crew: NASA

Days after a HAM radio enthusiast claimed that he got a response from SpaceX Crew Dragon’s astronauts while trying to connect with the International Space Station (ISS), US space agency denied that no such communication took place.

In an email response to The Quint's WebQoof team, NASA said that it was “technically impossible” for Crew Dragon to communicate through HAM radio.

“We did check with SpaceX to confirm that they were not aware of any communication with the astronauts via ham radio, and the crew did not report having received communication.”
Gary Jordan, NASA Spokesperson

You can read the story here.

3. As India ‘Unlocks’, Here’s How to Protect Yourself From Contaminated Surfaces

After almost two months of lockdown, the government has decided to reopen the economy, but in a phased manner. The first phase, which proposes to reopen malls, restaurants, hotels and religious places, has given rise to fears of catching the coronavirus from contaminated surfaces or objects.

For long, it has been argued that surface transmission is a potential risk and that the virus can stay on certain surfaces for as long as 3-7 days. We spoke to experts to understand the risk associated with stepping out.

You can watch the story here.

4. Fake Message Saying Akhtar Didn’t Win Dawkins Award Goes Viral

Screenshot of a fake WhatsApp forward which alleges that the news about Javed Akhtar winning the prestigious Richard Dawkins Award is false has gone viral on social media. The message, by someone claimed to be from English news channel NDTV, elaborates how a recommendation made by a London-based group was mistaken by Akhtar as a win.

However, The Quint found that this is a fake message and that the Richard Dawkins award has indeed been conferred on Akhtar. He has been given the honour for critical thinking, holding religious dogma up to scrutiny, advancing human progress and humanist values.

You can read the story here.

5. No, Zee News Bulletin Did Not Claim India to Have Another Lockdown

A screenshot of a bulletin of Zee News is doing the rounds on social media, claiming that after 15 June, another lockdown could be imposed in India. However, we found that this screenshot has been morphed and that the news channel hadn’t shown any such news.

We also found a template which was similar to the one which has been morphed. The “Breaking News” and “Sabse Pehle” banner can be seen to be the same in both. The band at the bottom, red-white in colour, can also be seen to be the same from the sides.

The fake morphed screenshot (left), real screenshot of Zee News bulletin (right)
The fake morphed screenshot (left), real screenshot of Zee News bulletin (right)
(Source: Altered by The Quint)

What is different is the actual text of the breaking news and that the morphed screenshot has a band with more text imposed on the lower band.

You can read the story here.

We'll get through this! Meanwhile, here's all you need to know about the Coronavirus outbreak to keep yourself safe, informed, and updated.

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