Pooja Poddar Marwah

The perils of an addiction

Whatsapp forwards are often considered baseless and false and this ironically, proved to be true when a supposed claim by Nobel Prize winner Tasuko Honjo made its rounds.

The Japanese laureate who won the coveted prize in 2018 for medicine and physiology never claimed that the coronavirus was manmade and yet in a span of 24 hours, the world over had received a ‘forward’ message claiming that he had caused the sensational news!

“If it were natural, it would only have affected countries with the same temperature as China. Instead, it spreads to a country like Switzerland, the same way it spreads to desert areas.  If it were natural, it would have spread in cold places, but would have died in hot places.  I have done 40 years of research on animals and viruses.  It is not natural.  It is manufactured and the virus is completely artificial.  I have been working for 4 years in the Wuhan laboratory in China.  I know all the staff of this laboratory well.  I called them all after the Corona accident.  but, all of their phones have been dead for 3 months.  It is now understood that all of these laboratory technicians are dead.

Based on all of my knowledge and research to date, I can say this with 100% confidence that Corona is not natural.  It did not come from bats.  China made it.  If what I say today turns out to be false now or even after I die, the government can withdraw my Nobel Prize.  but China is lying and this truth will one day be revealed to all.”

At the onset, anyone reading this would have arched their eyebrows instantly and in the next formed a broadcast group so this startling news reached every nook and corner of their contact list! But if for a moment, everyone who received it, acted maturely and researched it a tad further, they would have realised that it was a lame forward message with no accreditation to it.

The social media companies are watching us, our every move, our every visit.. They study our habits and our timelines, they set up unique algorithms to meander inside our brain to understand how we will think and respond and surprisingly, the data they collect through us willingly, proves to be accurate. It is not as though we were oblivious earlier. Its just that we contained the spread of false information and thereby reduced the panic attacks. We were still irresponsible for spreading information we didn’t even recheck accuracy for, but it was contained and limited to a few friends and family.

Companies will continue to form and technology will be on a rapid rising graph, but it is imperative to realise here that anything we pass on, needs to be verified. Mankind alone is responsible for the downfall of mankind. Climate change, global warming, deforestation are concerns but the one concern that needs to be on the top of the list is that of intelligent forwarding.

A computer may be very adept at reading our minds and forming charts based on our habits but in the end, man made it. We have the brains and we need to use it to de-addict ourselves. Like we have the AA, I can only hope that we don’t get into a Whatsapp Anonymous or a Facebook anonymous group; for as much as we try and deny it – It is closer than we think!

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