A text message claiming the Ministry of Education is giving free laptops to families to support virtual learning amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is being circulated on Whatsapp.
The message reads, “The Ministry of Education has a distribution schedule for laptops to be given out to families to help support virtual learning this fall. To check eligibility visit:https://education.giveawy.cyou”
Newschecker received the above claim on its Whatsapp tip line for verification.
Fact Check / Verification
Post the COVID-19 outbreak in India in March 2020, all educational institutions shifted to the online education mode. This move brought to the forefront the already existing digital divide in the country with several students finding it difficult to afford gadgets in order to attend online classes. In this period, several fake claims related to government ministries began circulating to deceive people.
In one such case, a text message claiming the Education ministry is giving free laptops to families has gone viral. Please note this is a fake message. The URL in the text message leads to a website asking users to “click YES to get free laptop.”
On clicking the “Continue” button, the website prompts the user to share their name after which the user is asked to share this message with their friends on Whatsapp.
We also noticed that on refreshing the website each time the number of comments and shares always starts from 153K and 337 respectively. And a pop-up that reads, “Kule Kennedy is writing a comment..” flashes continuously.
We checked the official website of the Ministry of Education and found no such announcement was made. Nor did we find any news reports on the same.
Additionally, the government’s fact-checking bureau, PIB Fact Check, has clarified that the message is fake and asked people not to click on the link or share personal information.
Official announcements made by the Education Ministry will be informed to the public via their official website or through the verified social media accounts of the Ministry and the Education Minister in charge.
The Ministry of Education is not giving free laptops to families to support virtual learning amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The message circulating on Whatsapp with a clickable link is fake.
PIB Fact Check: https://twitter.com/PIBFactCheck/status/1422466412795207681?s=20
Ministry of Education: https://www.education.gov.in/en
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