Fighting against the spread of fake news has become as important as giving news about the situation people are facing due to coronavirus across the world. Social media especially Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, Instagram and other media are used to spread misinformation by anti-social elements, resulting in making people panic.
Latest in the list is a poem being shared as once written by Kathleen O'Mara in 1869 during the pandemic of 1919. This poem with the caption "History repeats itself. Came across this poem written in 1869," is being shared widely on social media. One of the social media users Robin Markham shared the poem with the caption: "Timeless! History repeats itself. Came across this poem written in 1869, reprinted during 1919 Pandemic. It was written in 1869 by Kathleen O'Mara."
Others shared the poem with the same caption on Facebook. They referred to the poem as written during the pandemic created by Spanish Flu in 1919.
Here is the truth about the poem. The poem as claimed is not from the 19th Century. Instead, it has been lifted from a blog written by Catherine O'Meare on March 16, 2020, on her blog "The Daily Round." Title of the poem is "In the Time of Pandemic."
Below every post, Catherine has put out a Copyright notice stating: "© Copyright of all visual and written materials on The Daily Round belongs solely to Catherine M. O'Meara, 2011-Present. Unauthorized use is strictly prohibited, without Catherine O'Meara's written approval. No one is authorized to use Catherine O'Meara's copyrighted material for material gain without the author's engagement and written permission. All other visual, written, and linked materials are credited to their authors."
AFP's fact check states that information about Catherine can be found in OprahMag.com, where the author was interviewed by the magazine. According to the details given there, Catherine is a retired teacher living in Madison, WI in the US. She lives with her husband Phillip and five rescue dogs Clancy, Riley, Finnegan, Fiona, Mulligan, and Murphy. The magazine also states that Catherine is also a former chaplain.
While checking the blog, it seems that her first post was published on September 30, 2011. The blog does not have the image being shared on Facebook with the poem "In the Time of Pandemic." It looks like the image taken during Spanish Flue has been added with the image of the poem to give it a century-old look and to deceive people into believing the poem was written in 1919.