A message claiming that schools in Andhra Pradesh will be closed from 1 March to 4 May, owing to the rise in Covid-19 cases, has gone viral on social media. The claim did the rounds on social media in the form of a ‘Government Order’, carrying images of Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy and the Education Minister. The text in the ‘GO’ stated that all education departments have been directed to declare holidays for all schools and colleges during the said period.
With the message creating ambiguity among parents and students, the officials have come out to give a clarification on the same. Responding to the news, Andhra Pradesh Education Minister, Adimulapu Suresh, stated that no such decision has been taken by the state government and the schools shall remain open. Mr Suresh noted that such viral claims have gone viral despite the schools in Andhra Pradesh being almost restored normalcy, after being reopened post lockdown. Reportedly, concerned officials have been directed to take action against those spreading such fake news and misinformation.
It may be noted that the fake ‘Government Order’ carried several grammatical and spelling errors, in addition to odd font patterns.
While the authorities have been constantly urging citizens to spread misinformation on social media, the scenario is far from what’s intended. People have also been cautioned against falling prey to fake news. And given the trend, it has turned imperative to verify the authenticity of a claim/news that appears on social media or any digital platform.
Recently, while announcing new guidelines for social media and OTT platforms, Union Law and Information and Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad also expressed his concern over fake news and said that digital platforms need to curb the spread of such messages.