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Debunked: TheJournal.ie and other outlets are not organising a 'clap for our government' tonight

A fake image on social media claims that media organisations and Fine Gael are calling for people to applaud the government tonight.

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AN IMAGE ON social media claims that TheJournal.ie and other news outlets are organising a collective applause for the government tonight.

It suggests that a national round of applause is being arranged by five media outlets and Fine Gael to show appreciation for the government’s response to the Covid-19 crisis.

However, no such event is being planned.

The Claim

The image, which was shared on Twitter, claims that a national round of applause will take place tonight at 8pm.

It suggests that the event, billed as a “clap for our government” has been organised by TheJournal.ie, RTÉ, the Irish Times, the Irish Independent, Newstalk and Fine Gael.

“Please show your appreciation for our amazing government who have played an absolute blinder,” it says.

Applause

Other moments of applause

For context, several moments of national applause have taken place here and in other countries during the Covid-19 crisis.

On 26 March, members of the public and TDs joined in a national round of applause for workers responding to the pandemic at 8pm.

In the UK, members of the public also participate in a national round of applause for NHS workers every at 8pm Thursday.

The implication in the claim appears to be that a similar event is taking place at 8pm tonight. However, this is not true and no such event is being organised.

Speaking about the claim, editor Sinead O’Carroll said TheJournal.ie is not part of any plan to organise any such event.

“The team here in the newsroom is focused on providing open access to valuable journalism and information during these difficult times,” she said.

“As part of our fact-checking intiative, we have been examining claims in messages being sent across social networks every day. Many hoaxes and false messages, like this one, are designed to be shared by those who receive them.

“Our advice is, as always, to check what the source of the material is. Try and get your information from official sources and respected news outlets. If you are in doubt, you can contact our WhatsApp number and we’ll check it out for you.”

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There is a lot of false news and scaremongering being spread in Ireland at the moment about coronavirus. Here are some practical ways for you to assess whether the messages that you’re seeing – especially on WhatsApp – are true or not. 

STOP, THINK AND CHECK 

Look at where it’s coming from. Is it someone you know? Do they have a source for the information (e.g. the HSE website) or are they just saying that the information comes from someone they know? A lot of the false news being spread right now is from people claiming that messages from ‘a friend’ of theirs. Have a look yourself – do a quick Google search and see if the information is being reported elsewhere. 

Secondly, get the whole story, not just a headline. A lot of these messages have got vague information (“all the doctors at this hospital are panicking”) and don’t mention specific details. This is often – but not always a sign – that it may not be accurate. 

Finally, see how you feel after reading it. A lot of these false messages are designed to make people feel panicked. They’re deliberately manipulating your feelings to make you more likely to share it. If you feel panicked after reading something, check it out and see if it really is true.

TheJournal.ie’s FactCheck is a signatory to the International Fact-Checking Network’s Code of Principles. You can read it here. For information on how FactCheck works, what the verdicts mean, and how you can take part, check out our Reader’s Guide here. You can read about the team of editors and reporters who work on the factchecks here

Have you gotten a message on WhatsApp or Facebook or Twitter about coronavirus that you’re not sure about and want us to check it out? Message or mail us and we’ll look into debunking it. WhatsApp: 085 221 4696 or Email: answers@thejournal.ie. 

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