The National Information Technology Development Agency has identified a file being circulated on WhatsApp, tagged: “Argentina is Doing it,” as fake news and warned the public to avoid opening the link.
Hadiza Umar, Head, Corporate Affairs and External Relations of the agency, gave the warning on behalf of the agency in a statement issued in Abuja on Sunday.
The statement said: “NITDA, in line with its efforts at enlightening Nigerians on the nefarious actions of cyber criminals exploiting the COVID-19 pandemic to mislead and defraud unsuspecting victims, would like to bring to the attention of the general public, the recent COVID-19-related fake news in circulation.
“The fake news tagged ‘Argentina Is Doing It’, being circulated over social media, particularly on WhatsApp, is aimed at causing panic and inducing terror in individuals.
“Furthermore, in order to lend credibility to the message, the senders falsely claim that the Cable News Network (CNN) also reported it.”
According to the agency, the message exhibits traces of misleading information, which includes instructions to forward the message and claims of some kind of affiliation with a credible source or organisation.
It also said the message was aimed at inducing panic or shock on the recipient, and making impossible claims or serious consequences about the effect of the virus.
It said: “The messages contain alarming languages tending to emphasise the urgent nature of the threat.
“The general public is therefore urged to disregard this as there is no CNN article regarding this hoax; the message is a variant of a similar message in circulation since 2017.”
NITDA called on all well-meaning Nigerians to support the Federal Government in its efforts at containing the spread of COVID-19 in the country by not spreading fake news.