The viral claim that coronavirus pandemic is a conspiracy and that the number of cases is bogus is found to be fake. The claim cropped up after several netizens found that typing any three-digit number and 'new case' into Google search would return articles related to the coronavirus cases.
The pandemic, which was first reported in Wuhan province of China, has so far infected over 15.5 million people globally. With the number of cases rising with each passing day, the researchers from every country are rushing against time to create a vaccine for the fatal virus.
Viral Claim Leaves Netizens Baffled
In the claim which first sprang up in June, several conspiracy theorists pointed out that by googling any three-digit number between 100-999 followed by words 'new cases' will lead to the news article reporting the exact same number of coronavirus cases.
In its article titled 'Google Manipulating Search Results to Ensure ANY THREE DIGIT NUMBER will Show COVID-19 Panic-Porn at Top of List, The Gateway Pundit pushed the claim further.
"GO TO GOOGLE PROPER NOW ON YOUR CELLPHONE...KIND IN ANY 3 DIGIT QUANTITY ADOPTED BY "NEW INSTANCES" AND THE PRIMARY 3 ARTICLES WILL LIKELY BE ABOUT ### NEW CORONAVIRUS INSTANCES. WE'RE BEING PLAYED," tweeted a user sharing the post.
"Go to Google search engine & type in any 3-digit number along with "new cases." Google shows you a number of articles with that EXACT number of new cases. It's a Christmas Miracle!! Or, recognize that we are being conned as to actual numbers & severity of this year's flu virus," backed another user on the microblogging platform. Many netizens even shared the screen shots of their search.
The Truth Behind the Viral Claim
Even though typing any three-digit number followed by new cases does show articles pertaining to COVID-19 with the exact number of cases, it is certainly not a conspiracy theory as being claimed on social media.
In its report Snopes, a fact-finding website, stated that with the pandemic in existence for nearly eight months now, the numbers matching the search criteria is simply a matter of probability. With thousands of cities, states, countries, government organizations, academic institutions and newspapers around the world reporting daily on COVID-19 cases and deaths, it is inevitable that some numbers are going to be repeated, it reported further.
Danny Sullivan, Google's public search liaison executive, also dismissed the conspiracy claims. "If you search for words or figures, we try to show pages that have those words & figures. With 100,000s of pages from 1,000s of agencies with daily stat updates on COVID-19, you can search for most anything & get a match. Also works potato chips & no doubt many more terms," he said in a tweet.