TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — COVID-19 related false claims have again been crowned on LINE Taiwan’s top five disinformation chart.
“Green tea with lemon works to counter COVID” came on top of the dubious messages going viral in Taiwan in the past year. The claim was based on various fabricated stories of celebrities cured of the disease because of the drink, including that of the wife of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. founder Morris Chang (張忠謀).
Meanwhile, “COVID cases will receive NT$3,000 (US$97.83) in subsidies,” ranked 3rd in the chart, which turned out to be a phishing trap to trick people into giving away their personal information.
Food is also a major topic of misinformation, as “Red-shelled eggs are unsafe because of the pigment added to chicken feed” was the second most circulated rumor. The truth is that the color is attributable to carotenoids, an edible organic pigment added to feed.
The fourth and fifth bogus claims in the top five were about earthquake escape plans and electricity costs, some of the issues that concern people most, per Newtalk.
In 2019, the communications company launched a verification service to fight disinformation, in collaboration with Taiwan FactCheck Center, Science Media Center Taiwan, and the Cabinet. As of Wednesday (Dec. 21), it has received reports of 149,000 suspicious messages from 624,000 users.