Maybe you heard it from friends, saw it on Facebook or perhaps even received them yourself.
Text messages are sneaking their way around the nation warning people about a mandatory two-week quarantine that will soon be invoked by President Donald Trump himself.
There’s just one thing: They’re the fakest of fake news.
“Within 48 to 72 Hours the president will evoke what is called the Stafford act. Just got off the phone with some of my military friends in DC who had a two hour briefing,” one version of the fake text read.
has anyone got one these texts yet? pic.twitter.com/XBbH0e7R94
— dej (@lildejOG) March 16, 2020
“The president will order a two week mandatory quarantine for the nation. Stock up on whatever you guys need to make sure you have a two week supply of everything.”
The messages were written as dire warnings implying that no one will be able to leave their homes for two weeks — no grocery trips, no doctor visits, nothing.
Any necessities a family might need they would have to run out and get today. In other words: Panic.
By the sound of the messages one might think there was an actual zombie apocalypse or alien invasion taking place.
The messages were so concerning that even the National Security Council took the unusual step of issuing a statement explaining that the messages were false.
“Text message rumors of a national #quarantine are FAKE. There is no national lockdown. @CDCgov has and will continue to post the latest guidance on #COVID19,” the tweet read.
— NSC (@WHNSC) March 16, 2020
According to fact-checker Snopes, the fake text messages started circulating in mid-March around the time Trump invoked a national emergency through the Stafford Act.
The Stafford Act simply allows the Federal Emergency Management Agency to act during times of national emergency.
Accusations quickly circulated online as to who exactly was responsible for the disinformation. Suggestions ranged from Russian activists to Chinese authorities to partisan operatives.
But one thing is clear: Whoever did this is at very least a jackass and at worst an evil actor.
This is a tough time for America. We have not had to deal with a national crisis that affected all of us physically and economically since the 9/11 attacks.
One of the problems in this age of endless information is that some of it will be weaponized against us by those who despise our values or simply enjoy a sick joke.
So what can we do about it? Delete it. Or expose it for what it is.
If you get junk like this moving forward in an email or text, don’t mindlessly pass it on — you will simply become an unwitting accomplice.
Take a breath and look it up. There’s a good chance someone else received it too.
It’s bad enough that we’re fighting a rapidly spreading illness. Let’s not make things worse by sickening each other with lies.
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