The Hyderabad City Police have put out a statement refuting a fake message attributed to them. The message falsely claims that the Hyderabad police have instructed people across India not to consume cold drinks for the coming few days, as the drinks have been contaminated with the Ebola virus.
“Please forward to your friends. Instructions have been issued to all of India on behalf of the Hyderabad police. In the coming few days, please do not drink cold drinks like Maaza, Fanta, 7 Up, Coca-Cola, Mountain Dew, Pepsi, etc. A worker in one of these companies has mixed blood infected with a dangerous virus called Ebola,” the message reads. It also says that the news has been reported by NDTV.
According to the police, the message is being circulated along with two images, one showing people lying seemingly on hospital beds and another showing packaged cool drink bottles.
Sharing the message and the images, the Hyderabad Police wrote, “Fake news spreading on social media about cool drinks and a warning from Hyderabad city police is fake one and Hyderabad city police never released any message regarding this (sic).”
Last month, the Cyber Crimes Police Station of the Detective department arrested three people for posting fake messages on social media about the ‘high’ number of missing persons in the state. These messages had triggered rumours of a “kidnapping mafia” in the state, creating panic among people.
“Forwarding of such fake posts and rumours is liable for punishment under law and hence general public should not forward such posts which will cause panic and alarm in general public,” Avinash Mohanty, Joint Commissioner of Police, Detective department, had said at the time.
Police in Telangana have been taking different measures to combat the circulation of fake news.
Earlier in April, before the Lok Sabha polls, district police chief in Mahabubnagar Rema Rajeshwari had dealt with fake news by organising street plays with a police folk team, creating awareness on the ill-effects of votes-for-cash, and how villagers can ensure peace and curb the spread of fake news during polls. Traffic inspector Anjapally Nagamallu has been recording music videos to create social awareness around fake news and superstitions in rural Telangana.