WebQoof Recap: Of 5G Killing Birds, False Claims about Signal App
Here’s a round-up of all that misled the public this week.
From claims that Reliance Jio’s tests for 5G spectrum is killing birds in India, to a viral message on social media with false claims about the Signal mobile application, here’s a round-up of all that misled the public this week.
1. Jio’s 5G Testing Killed Birds in India? Viral Claim Lacks Proof
However, we found out that the message is false and that the Indian government has not yet allocated the 5G spectrum, following which no trials could have happened. We further spoke to radiologists and researchers who told us that the bird flu is an infectious disease and the birds are not dying due to radio waves.
2. Viral Message Makes False Claims about Signal App, WhatsApp
A viral message on social media claimed to reveal details of Signal application. The viral message appealed to all Indians to download Signal app, which allegedly will be a ‘huge boost to Atmanirbhar Bharat’. The message claimed that the app has been created by a poor villager’s son from Uttar Pradesh, who is an IIT graduate.
It further says that organisations like NASA and UNESCO have awarded the app the ‘Best New App of 2021’ because it is allegedly the first app to use the code in Sanskrit.
However, we found on Signal’s website that Brian Acton had started the Signal Foundation alongside Moxie Marlinspike. We didn’t find any information that would link the aforementioned people to Uttar Pradesh. We also didn’t find the mention of Sanskrit as one of the coding languages.
Similarly, claims that the Signal app has been awarded, “Best New App of 2021” by NASA and UNESCO and that WhatsApp will shut down in six months was also found to be false.
3. Clipped Video of Pak PM’s Remark Shared With a False Spin
A video showing Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s remark on the Indian government went viral with the claim that he admitted that India hasn’t seen a government as “strong and iron-willed” in the last 73 years.
However, we found that the viral video is a smaller version of a longer video, in which Khan can be heard saying, “If Pakistan needs a stronger army, then it needs it today. And why is it needed? Because our neighbouring country...in 73 years India didn’t have a government like it has today...the government that is totalitarian, racist, anti-Muslim, anti-Islam, anti-Pakistan...never has such a government been formed...and what they are doing to Kashmiris...”
4. Clip of Cops Paying Homage at Dargah Goes Viral without Context
A video of Mumbai Police officials paying obeisance at the shrine of Sufi saint Makhdoom Mahimi, at Mahim Dargah, was shared on several social media platforms to insinuate that the tradition has been started by the ruling Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress government.
However, we found that the said tradition almost dates back to 100 years. Several news reports point out that Mahimi has been the patron saint of Mumbai Police since the 15th century.
5. Old Image of Sikh Man Offering Namaz Revived Amid Farmers’ Protest
An old photo of a man wearing a turban and offering namaz inside a mosque has been shared by writer Harinder S Sikka and other social media users, with the false claim that he was one of the farmers protesting at the Delhi borders.
However, we found out that the image is at least five years old and could be traced back to 2016 when social media users had posted images of a Sikh man offering namaz. While the identity of the man could not be established, the existence of the picture in 2016 makes it evident that it’s not related to the ongoing farmers’ protest.
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