The pandemic period has been subjected to a lot of fake news, misinformation, and conspiracy theories in its wake.
The latest being a social media message about free masks being circulated by the government.
A message stating that the government is giving out free masks is doing rounds on the internet.
The message states that the government is distributing free masks under a new scheme called PM Mask Yojana.
The message directs its user to click on a link it has provided.
The message has been declared as fake by the official Press Information Bureau (PIB)'s fact check page. The tweet by the fact check page confirms that there is no scheme and that the link is fraudulent.
"Claim: Amidst #CoronaOutbreak, a social media message claims free masks are being distributed by the government under 'PM Mask Yojana' A link is provided for placement of orders... #PIBFactCheck: There is no such scheme. This is a fraudulent link. Do not spread such #FakeNews," read the tweet.
Messages targetting taxpayers and the unemployed have also surfaced on the internet.
A WhatsApp message states that taxpayers are required to click on a link to process their GST refund. PIB fact check has deemed this message as fake. "Please do not click on any fake link which promises to give a refund. These are phishing messages and not sent by CBIC or @Infosys_GSTN. Visit gst.gov.in for online filings related to GST."
One more message stated that the unemployed people will get Rs 3500 per month under "Pradhan Mantri Bhatta Yojana." The PIB Fact Check has deemed it as fake stating that there is no such scheme.
Another message doing rounds on the internet is about the government of India invading the privacy of citizens through WhatsApp. However, the fact check stated that there was no reality to this claim.
The fake message elaborated about the ticks a user would see on WhatsApp and what they signified. It stated that the government was taking note of if three blue ticks appeared.
"FakeNewsAlert! Messages circulating on social media reading 'WhatsApp info regarding tick marks is fake #PIBFactCheck: No! The Government is doing no such thing. The message is #FAKE. Beware of rumours!" Read the tweet.
To curb misinformation, WhatsApp reduced the number of people who the messages can be forwarded to five people. The change is said to have reduced message forwards by 25c percent globally. WhatsApp has also introduced a feature wherein the user can verify a certain forward on the web by clicking on a magnifying glass.
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