It really is amazing how swiftly alarmist messages of all sorts become ‘fact’ and circulate as ‘news’ on social media. Strangely the same fake messages circulate, die a natural death and then resurrect a couple of years later to emerge as ‘news’ once again. Popular packaged food products such as Cadbury and Snickers bars, Lays chips, and carbonated beverages are a particular target. These may be nutritionally poor and needn’t be a part of any healthy diet, but certainly not as ruinous as those horrifying social media forwards make them out to be.
In the past few days, millions of us received this or a similar message “SNICKER production has stopped in 65 countries. Main cause is cancer disease, keep your baby away from today, please share and warn.” Accompanying this is a video of boxes of Snickers being tossed away and the voiceover speaking about ‘bits of plastic’ in some bars that led to the manufacturer recalling the product in 55 countries.
This is the video circulating, with an English voiceover with a British accent. The same video from 6-7 months ago is also available along with what appears to be Middle Eastern commentary. According to a hoax-slayer style website boomlive.in, this video is actually from 2016 which has resurfaced again now.
Listen to the video: it speaks about a 55 country product recall by the company because bits of plastic were found in some batches of its products. Somehow this becomes ‘cancer causing’ item that is ‘banned’ in 65 countries.
A while back a Cadbury worker was supposed to have added HIV infected blood to Cadbury bars and we were told not to eat any Cadbury product. The same story reappeared other avatars: the same photo of the same man being arrested was used to propagate a similar story about infected blood being added to Pepsi.
In India, we were told about ‘warnings’ from the ‘Delhi police’ not to drink Frooti a few years ago. Remember this one? Miraculously, here again, a Frooti worker had added AIDS-contaminated blood to the product!
For years now, we've also been told that Lays chips and Kurkure have plastic in them; videos of burning these products are presented as conclusive proof of this. Thankfully there are enough sane people around who don’t buy into such nonsense. This YouTube video demonstrates how any snack – Lays, Fryums, or a traditional homemade snack with carbohydrates and starch behaves and smells the same way when exposed to flame.
Remember the Nutella hoax I wrote about some months back? Similar! Rumors of toxicity and GM ingredients and MSG that emanated from a group that aligns itself against Monsanto! The group keeps reposting this message every few months. People who hadn’t seen it before forward it with renewed gusto each time.
Sometimes it is well meaning people who act on their own dearly held beliefs. Sometimes it is people who act out of simple ignorance. At times these could be deliberate marketing ploys to undermine the products of a competitor. Some people just think it’s great fun how a random message they create goes viral. Social media is like Chinese Whispers. As a message spreads, it becomes exaggerated, amplified, distorted. All those billions of forwards, the messages from ‘NASA’, about undead celebrities, scary warnings…can we be a little less gullible and a tad more skeptical people?
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