The government's official fact-checking entity has recently debunked claims that all hotels and restaurants will remain closed till October 15 due to coronavirus outbreak. The claim, which discredited the Ministry of Tourism as the source, is one of the many misinformation floated on social media platforms amid the COVID-19 outbreak.
The Press Information Bureau (PIB) Fact Check team tweeted, "Be cautious of fake order claiming that hotels/restaurants will remain closed till 15th October 2020 due to coronavirus outbreak".
The tweet also confirmed that the order was fake and was not issued by the Ministry of Tourism. "Do not believe in rumours," PIB Fact Check added.
Social media has seen a surge in misinformation amid the coronavirus pandemic. From misquoting political leaders to circulating false statements, the social media platforms are abuzz with news and reports about the outbreak. Recently, PIB debunked a false claim that stated Amit Shah was infected with the coronavirus.
India's poultry sector also suffered significant losses after a fake report linked chicken meat with the spread of coronavirus. Poultry birds were sold at a price of Rs 10 to Rs 30 per kg at the farm gate level due to fake news regarding coronavirus.
In a bid to curb misinformation surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, PIB's fact-checking team is putting out tweets on their official twitter handle @PIBFactCheck. PIB can be contacted at +918799711259 on WhatsApp or can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
"Do forward any WhatsApp "news" about COVID-19 which you suspect is fake news to our WhatsApp hotline number +918799711259 for busting," PIB had tweeted.
On April 7, WhatsApp also introduced a new limit that allows frequently forwarded messages to be forwarded to only one chat at a go. The move was made to curb the spread of fake information. The messaging app is also working on a new feature that would let WhatsApp users search a particular forward on the internet to ensure whether or not the information is fake.