THREAD: Saw the doctored image of a tweet sent by “CNA” on school closures due to the #NovelCoronavirus? It’s fake. Many have shared it on social media and WhatsApp, but CNA never sent that message. How you can tell it’s fake: https://t.co/nfqHRbqvrS /1 pic.twitter.com/yhFYCx8u92
— CNA (@ChannelNewsAsia) February 7, 2020
A tweet on Friday (Feb 7) that appeared as if it was put up by the official Twitter account of Channel News Asia went viral after it declared that, effective Monday (Feb 10), all schools in Singapore would be closed until further notice.
“This is untrue and CNA did not send such a tweet,” it stated in an article posted not long after the fake tweet went viral. The false tweet was apparently taken from an original tweet by CNA and doctored to look like it was legitimate. The original CNA tweet was a football story titled “Football: Could Neymar, Mbappe antics derail PSG as season enters crunch time?”
CNA pointed out a couple of things in the fake tweet. Firstly, the automated social media posting service used by CNA, dlvr.it, puts up a headline and a link. It does not use hashtags. In the doctored tweet, however, there was no headline link. Aside from this, a “#CoronavirusOutbreak” was used. The time-stamp of the original and the doctored tweet were also the same.
Another sign of the viral tweet’s falsehood was the outdated watermark in the doctored image. At the bottom right was a Mediacorp logo. However, according to CNA, Mediacorp has been using an updated logo since 2015.
The Ministry of Health also released a statement on its Facebook page about the tweet being false. It reiterated the importance of getting information only from credible sources and added: “We advise members of the public to not speculate and/or spread unfounded rumours.”
Updates on the 2019-nCoV situation can be found on the MOH website.