“Case of bubonic plague suspected in China,” reads the headline of a CNN news report in a photo of a TV shared on Facebook. It was posted with the comment: “Can we get a break please.”
The photo was flagged as possibly false by Facebook’s fact-checking system. We investigated.
What is bubonic plague?
“Patients develop sudden onset of fever, headache, chills, and weakness” and if they are not treated “the bacteria can spread to other parts of the body”.
‘Patient isolated, treated’ in China
“At present, the patient has been isolated and treated in a local hospital and his condition is stable,” a machine translation of the statement reads.
The South African news site Independent Online reports that Inner Mongolia has issued a level-three alert, “warning of the risks of human-to-human infection and urging citizens to report dead animals, suspected plague cases and patients running a fever for unidentified reasons”.
Bubonic plague was once feared, the BBC adds, but is now easily treated.
WHO spokesperson Margaret Harris told the BBC that the organisation was “looking at the case numbers in China” and that the outbreak was being well managed. – Taryn Willows
For publishers: what to do if your post is rated false
A fact-checker has rated your Facebook or Instagram post as “false”. What should you do? First, don't delete!
Click on our guide for the steps you should follow.
Africa Check teams up with Facebook
Africa Check is a partner in Facebook’s third-party fact-checking programme to help stop the spread of false information on social media.
The content we rate as “false” will be downgraded on Facebook and Instagram. This means fewer people will see it.
You can also help identify false information on Facebook. This guide explains how.
Fighting coronavirus misinformation
Africa Check is working with the CoronaVirusFacts/DatosCoronaVirus Alliance, a coalition of more than 100 fact-checkers fighting misinformation about the Covid-19 pandemic.
Learn more about the alliance here.
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