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Got any messages on WhatsApp about coronavirus that sound untrue? Send it to us and we'll check it out

TheJournal.ie is debunking some of the many rumours going around about coronavirus.

THE SPREAD OF coronavirus has led to a huge amount of misinformation being shared on messaging and social media platforms. 

WhatsApp in particular has become a major source of rumours and false information. 

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Today alone, there were untrue rumours about the country going into lockdown next Monday, about Irish people at Cheltenham being put into isolation, and about people being told to stockpile food

Here at TheJournal.ie, we’re looking to try to debunk as many of these stories as possible to try to stop them spreading and to get accurate information out there instead. 

And this is where you come in. 

If you get a message about coronavirus and you’re not sure if it’s true or not, send it over to us and we’ll check it out. There are two ways: 

  • Forward it or screenshot it to us on WhatsApp: 085 221 4696
  • Email it to us: answers@thejournal.ie

We won’t use your information for anything else, and will let you know if we are able to debunk the claim. 

You can see stories we’ve already debunked here and follow this thread on Twitter, which has graphics which can be shared across WhatsApp and social media. 

Misinfo Graphic Army Version 6 (3)

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While you’re here: 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.

toolkit-for-false-news Source: Shutterstock/Jo Panuwat D

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

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