Did genetically modified mosquitoes escape from Wuhan lab ?

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A supposed news article titled “Wuhan: Thousands of mosquitoes inoculated with viagra escape from high-security laboratory” is being widely disseminated across different social media platforms. The article is published by a satirical website named World News Daily ReportAt the time of writing this news report, the article had been shared over a whopping 13 thousand times on Facebook. The article has caused quite a stir on social media.

 

Claim: Several netizens are sharing the article on various social media platforms claiming that genetically modified mosquitoes, inoculated with Viagra have escaped from a high-security scientific laboratory in China. People are using the article published on World News Daily Report to substantiate their claims.

 

Twitter

The article is going viral on Twitter and several users are sharing it.

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Facebook

The claim that genetically modified mosquitoes have escaped the Wuhan Institute of Virology is also circulating on Facebook.

 

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Truth

The claim that thousands of genetically modified mosquitoes, inoculated with viagra have escaped from a high-security laboratory in Wuhan, China, is False. It is just a case of satire believed to be veracious.

(Photo: World News Daily Report Website/Screenshot)

 

To verify the claim being circulated across social media platforms, we first checked the website, World News Daily Report, and discovered that it is satirical in nature. The disclaimer on the website clearly states that its articles are based on fictional content and are meant for information and entertainment purposes only.

 

(Photo: World News Daily Report Facebook Page/Screenshot)

 

During our research, we also found the Facebook page of the website and the ‘About’ section of the page reads “World News Daily Report is an independent satirical media organization dedicated to covering news and events from around the world in a completely ludicrous manner. World News Daily Report assumes all responsibility for the satirical nature of its articles and for the fictional nature of their content. All characters appearing in the articles in this website – even those based on real people – are entirely fictional and any resemblance between them and any person, living, dead or undead, is purely a miracle.” The description itself makes it clear that the information present on the website is not authentic.

The viral article contains statements from a ‘Dr. Wenzi Ying Yin Jing’ and presents him as the head researcher at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, China. Hence in order to verify, we also explored the Wuhan Institute of Virology’s official website but found out that there is no ‘Dr. Wenzi Ying Yin Jing’ on their team.

The article also features an image of a man, who according to the article is an 87 year old Wuhan resident and was hospitalized as he was ‘believed to have been bitten by one of the genetically modified mosquitoes’. We ran a Google reverse image search and discovered that the person whose photograph is used is Yukichi Chuganji, a Japanese, who briefly held the record of being the oldest man alive. He passed away in 2003 and there were several news organisations that reported his death. The reverse image search also led us to one of Chuganji’s images that we found on Getty Images, a visual media company that supplies stock images among others.

In past many such satire article have been viral,with people believing them to be true which SMHoaxSlayer debunked

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Rupesh Kumar

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Rupesh Kumar

A Journalism student at Symbiosis Institute of Media & Communication, who writes out of sheer avidity and has a nose for news, seeking to leverage skills to contribute to high-quality journalism.