We are reality-checking the week’s most preferred doubtful promises and bringing collectively the operate of BBC journalists investigating coronavirus disinformation.
The White Home is not advertising commemorative coronavirus cash
A website termed the White Residence Reward Store has brought about anger by offering coins “commemorating” the Covid-19 outbreak for $100 (£80) every.
US Senator Bernie Sanders was 1 of those infuriated by the cash.
But the White Property Reward Shop is a privately operate on-line shop with no direct relationship to the White Property or the Trump administration.
Its have web site claims it “operates independently of the US govt”.
The cash, nonetheless, do exist and are being offered by the retail store. They present a coronavirus germ superimposed above a planet map, with slogans these types of as “Collectively we fought the unseen enemy” and “Day to day heroes suited up”. The internet site states income will be donated to hospitals.
Set up by President Harry S Truman in 1946, the reward shop was transferred to a non-public business several years back, which now holds the trademark for “White Household Present Shop”.
The internet site previously came to media interest in 2018 when it sold coins commemorating Donald Trump’s Singapore summit conference with North Korean chief Kim Jong-un.
Californian doctors’ misleading lockdown stats
A video in which two American health professionals argue for an end to lockdown actions has sparked controversy.
The movie of a press convention, broadcast on a nearby Tv station in California, was viewed tens of millions of times on YouTube and Facebook. It was Tweeted by Elon Musk, who has 33 million followers and is getting to be more and more vocal in his opposition to shutdown measures.
In the video clip Dr Daniel Erickson and Dr Artin Messihi argue for an conclude to the lockdown based mostly on the knowledge they have gathered from their private clinics. They draw sweeping conclusions from their unrepresentative sample, and assert the flu is comparable in prevalence and dying costs.
It’s really tricky to build what proportion of individuals die soon after catching coronavirus mainly because no region has nevertheless carried out random testing on a scale that could support us fully grasp how many folks in fact have it.
You absolutely won’t be able to do it from the limited info you get from the people who ended up analyzed in a several clinics.
The greatest present estimates are that the Covid-19 dying charge is just under 1% and for flu it’s .1%. These are estimates, which would have to have massive-scale random screening to validate.
On Monday, as the online video garnered extra views, two skilled health-related associations, the American University of Emergency Physicians and the American Academy of Crisis Drugs, issued a joint assertion condemning the doctors’ “reckless and untested musings”.
The medical associations claimed the conclusions reached in the doctors’ online video were being inconsistent with existing science and epidemiology about Covid-19, introducing: “It seems these two people are releasing biased, non-peer-reviewed details to advance their own economic interests with out regard for the public’s wellness.”
YouTube eradicated the comprehensive video clip mainly because it violated its insurance policies which were tightened final 7 days.
Bot network exposed
A disinformation marketing campaign towards a Chinese businessman who has spoken critically of the Chinese government’s response to the coronavirus outbreak has been uncovered.
The marketing campaign, waged by means of Twitter and Facebook, makes use of a community of phony accounts, or bots, to target Guo Wengui, an exiled Chinese businessman in the United States.
BBC open source investigator Benjamin Strick recognized bogus accounts that posted images and textual content criticising Mr Guo.
A massive network of bots would then retweet and remark on the posts to give them trending standing employing the tags #GuoWengui, and his name written in Chinese.
The bots made use of phony profile photographs and several of them were being created on the exact working day, seemingly with the sole reason of amplifying the campaign.
Amongst 27 and 29 April, additional than 200 accounts have been developed on Twitter which only shared media important of Mr Guo and his views about both of those China’s reaction to coronavirus in Wuhan, and the number of fatalities in Wuhan.
This is not the to start with time a campaign has been introduced from Mr Guo. He has been the goal of disinformation strategies connected to China because 2017, discovered in analysis from the Australian Strategic Plan Institute.
The discovery of this current marketing campaign also exposed a huge network of multilingual accounts pretending to be Russian, with phony profile shots. The accounts appeared to be automated to encourage a professional-Chinese government agenda and other problems.
Twitter has now suspended a lot of of the accounts.
Phony Nobel Prize winner quote
A viral concept attributed to Japanese Nobel Prize laureate Tasuku Honjo promises he believes the new coronavirus was “created” in a lab in the Chinese town of Wuhan.
The posts have been shared countless numbers of instances on social media in many languages and not long ago by the superior-profile British businessman, Lord Sugar.
We think the to start with article was in India and then unfold to a Nigerian site in which it went viral.
But Prof Honjo, 2018 winner of the Nobel Prize for physiology or medicine, has made no these kinds of remarks.
In a statement posted on the web page of Kyoto College, he mentioned he was “drastically saddened” that his title experienced been used to spread “bogus accusations and misinformation”.
Scientists say genome sequencing reveals that the virus came from animals and was not man-built.
Additional reporting by Alistair Coleman, Olga Robinson, Shayan Sardarizadeh, Wanyuan Track, Marianna Spring and Benjamin Strick.
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