Zombie claims resurface in August

IMAGE: Namibia Fact Check / WhatsApp

A few claims that have been debunked by Namibia Fact Check over the years have resurfaced in WhatsApp groups

Zombie claims are claims that keep coming back to life or resurfacing and circulating despite having been debunked numerous times over an extended period of time.

Do you remember the scam in which it is claimed that a company is giving away prize money, but it is actually a phishing scam in which people are enticed into giving over personal information and contact details? This particular one keeps resurfacing, this time around as a Woolworths giveaway (image below). 

And despite having been debunked, the scam has gone viral in WhatsApp groups once more, with the latest version forwarded three times to Namibia Fact Check in the first week of August.

Another zombie claim that has been floating around social media for years is the one warning people against using “the paracetamol that comes written P-500” (image below), which Namibia Fact Check debunked in April 2022 but keeps coming across, especially in WhatsApp groups.

Some claims and rumours will continue circulating in online spaces even if they have been fact checked many times, as there are always people who have not come across such claims or rumours, and the fact checks, and continue to give them new life.

That said, Africa Check has a guide to dealing with zombie claims:

  • 1. Look for the paper trail that leads you straight to the facts
  • Check whether the story’s details match up by visiting many credible news organisations or fact-checking websites. If a major news outlet hasn’t reported the claim, it’s a red flag that it’s not true.
  • 2. Check the credibility and reputation of the source
  • Be wary of information shared on social media without evidence, especially if it has been forwarded many times. It can be easily manipulated.
  • 3. Be sceptical of claims that make you angry
  • Hoaxes that play on people’s fears or desires are often shared widely. Watch out for claims that seem too shocking to be true – they usually aren’t.
  • 4. Beware of old claims disguised as recent events
  • Making sure that the information you receive is up to date can help you keep ahead of resurfacing claims.
  • 5. Stay informed to gain the upper hand
  • Taking the time to check and verify facts can help you avoid being misled.