#Open journalism No news is bad news

Your contributions will help us continue to deliver the stories that are important to you

Support The Journal
Dublin: 0°C Thursday 3 December 2020
Advertisement

Debunked: No, the Army is not going to chip children in schools so they can monitor them

The incorrect claim is being widely shared on social media.

debunked

A WHATSAPP VOICE note being widely shared on social media in Ireland in recent days incorrectly claims that children in schools will be mass-tested for Covid-19 and implanted with a chip to monitor their movements.

In the voice note a woman claims that, from this week onwards, the Army are going to start mass-testing children in Irish schools, as well as implant a microchip in them.

“They’re not only going to be mass-testing the children, they’re putting a chip in them, so they can scan them with a barcode,” she states.

The woman, who has an Irish accent, says other posts she has shared with the claims have been deleted by Facebook, and she encourages people to share the voice note to as many people as possible.

One post including the voice note, which was posted on Facebook by a third party, has been shared over 750 times.

shutterstock_1009504162 File photo Source: Shutterstock/BigTunaOnline

Some of those sharing the post appear to be aware that the content is not true, but others are sharing it as if the claims are genuine.

The voice note is being shared by some people who hold anti-mask and anti-lockdown views.

There is no evidence whatsoever to back up the claim. The Defence Forces and the Department of Health have both said that this is not happening. The Defence Forces called it “misinformation” and the DOH said that it has “no scientific basis”.

A spokesperson for the Defence Forces told TheJournal.ie there is “absolutely no truth whatsoever to this Facebook post”.

They said the “only public sources of truth regarding Defence Forces operations and activities” are the organisation’s website and official social media pages.

“Misinformation at this time is unhelpful,” the spokesperson added.

A spokesperson for the DOH also confirmed the claims made in the voice note are untrue. “The Department of Health has no plans to do this. There is no scientific basis for this,” they said.

Other conspiracy theories about people being microchipped

Several conspiracy theories about microchipping have been shared in many countries since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

A number of theories claim the pandemic is a cover for a plan to implant trackable microchips in people.

Many of the theories incorrectly claim that Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates is behind the plan. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation previously told BBC News the claim is false.

Gates has been the subject of much misinformation and disinformation about the pandemic and vaccines – claims being made without evidence and denied by Gates.

You can read more of our debunks on the topic here:

In June, TheJournal.ie debunked a claim that all British citizens would be microchipped from January 2021.

A letter incorrectly claiming to be from UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson appeared on multiple Facebook pages earlier this year. It stated that a new government initiative would see all UK residents being microchipped from next year onwards.

#Open journalism No news is bad news Support The Journal

Your contributions will help us continue to deliver the stories that are important to you

Support us now

The letter said the microchipping would allow the government to track the movements of “criminals and terrorists”. The document was confirmed to be “entirely fake” by a spokesperson for the UK Cabinet Office.

*******

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 

About the author:

Órla Ryan

Read next:

COMMENTS (1)