A set of disturbing images showing dead bodies and cold drink bottles is viral on social media with fake captions claiming that an employee of a soft drink company has contaminated its product with Ebola-infected blood.
BOOM found that the viral claim is false and the pictures are unrelated.
A set of different pictures of bodies and cold drink bottles are viral from various Facebook pages with the same Hindi claim which translates to 'Please forward to all friends. Hyderabad police has informed all of India. Please don't drink cold drink including maza, fanta, 7 up, coca cola, mountain dew, pepsi etc for the coming few days because an employee of the company has contaminated it with Ebola-virus infected blood. The news was broadcast by NDTV channel yesterday. Please forward and share this message'.
(Hindi: #प्लीज सभी मित्रो फोर्वर्ड करे. Hyderabad पुलिस की तरफ़ से पुरे भारत मे सूचना दि गयी है. क्रुपया आने वाले कुछ दिनो तक आप कोई भी कोल्ड ड्रिंक जैसे माज़ा, फैन्टा, 7 अप, कोका कोला, mauntain डीओ, पेप्सी, इत्यादि न पिये क्यूकी इसमेसे एक कम्पनी के कामगार ने इसमे इबोला नामक खतरनाक वायरस का दूषित खून इसमे मिला दिया है. ये खबर कल NDTV चैनल मे बतायी थी. आप जल्द से जल्द इस मेसेज को फोर्वर्ड करके मदद करे. ये मेसेज आपके परिवार मे फोर्वर्ड करे आप जितना हो सके इसे शेअर करे.. धन्यवाद.)
Pictures shared in the posts are disturbing in nature, viewers' discretion is advised.
BOOM did a reverse image search on each of the pictures separately and found that the images were unrelated with the claim.
A reverse image search on this article led us to an AFP fact check from 2020. AFP had debunked a viral claimed related to the same image when it was viral with a different caption.
The AFP article shared the link of a news report published in Deccan Herald in September 2017 carrying a similar image. The report stated that six members of a family in Suryapet town of Telangana had died after consuming pesticide.
The report mentioned that the family took this drastic step as they were unable to repay a hefty loan. The six deceased included two women and two children.
On reverse image search, we found a YouTube video uploaded on February 18, 2020 with the title 'Poisonous Cola!! Famous Cold Drink Exposed'. The thumbnail of the video has the same image that's viral now. However, the video doesn't show any news related to the spurious cold drink. The YouTube channel City 42 is based in Lahore, Pakistan.
Taking cue from the video, we did a keyword search with 'fake coca cola factory pakistan' and found the same image on website Pak101 published in 2015. The article published in Pak101 stated that the images are from a raid conducted at a fake Coca Cola factory at Baigpur village in Gujranwala in Pakistan.
The website also has other pictures from the raid.
A reverse image search on this picture led us to a similar image shared on Twitter in 2015.
BOOM could not independently verify where was the image from.
We did a reverse image search on this picture and found Telugu fact check published in Factly on September 4, 2020. The fact check carried reports published in Hindi website Gorakhpur Times which carried the same image with a set of other similar images.
The report stated that the picture is from an incident in Siddharthnagar, Uttar Pradesh wherein a car had fallen into the Rapti river. The accident resulted in the death of two women while the driver of the car survived. The body of a minor could not be traced.
We also looked for any news report on Hyderabad police issuing a warning against contaminated Cold Drink but found none. We did find several fact checks and reports rubbishing the claim.
A report published in The News Minute on July 14, 2019 stated that the Hyderabad City police had put out a statement refuting the fake message being attributed to them.
What Is Ebola Virus?
The Ebola Virus Disease first appeared in 1976 in two simultaneous outbreaks in South Sudan and Democratic Republic of Congo. The latter outbreak, which occurred in a village near Ebola River, gave the disease its name.
However, the 2014–2016 outbreak of Ebola virus in West Africa was the largest outbreak since 1976. The virus transmits to people from wild animals. In the human population the virus can spread through human transmission.
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