Amitabh Bachchan’s Twitter Timeline Would Make Eyes Roll. Now It’s a Black Hole of Covid-19 Misinformation

Bollywood

Amitabh Bachchan’s Twitter Timeline Would Make Eyes Roll. Now It’s a Black Hole of Covid-19 Misinformation

Illustration: Reynold Mascarenhas

Over the last few weeks, superstar Amitabh Bachchan’s tweets speculating on the various origins and cures for the coronavirus have served as an example of what happens when you receive too many dubious WhatsApp forwards.

The latest in a spree of “breaking news” updates from Bachchan senior, involved bats, and much like a few of his previous tweets have made eyes roll into the back of heads.

While the actor was clearly joking in the first half of his tweet, his implication that the coronavirus was following him around, attracted the ire of a few, who believed it was an irresponsible message to send to his millions of followers.

While, admittedly, the tweet wasn’t the worst bit of misinformation to grace timelines, especially considering that leaders of the free world are advocating “drinking bleach”, the fact is that this is only the latest of Bachchan senior’s false claims on the origin of the virus.

Previously, clarifications had to be issued by the health ministry after the actor implied that coronavirus could spread through flies. In a video uploaded for his 40 million Instagram followers, the actor made an appeal to stop open defecation, by citing a debunked claim that the virus spreads through flies who sit on excreta.

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@amitabhbachchan ❤ A study in the @TheLancet shows that coronavirus lingers on human excreta much longer than in respiratory samples. Come on India, we are going to fight this! Use your toilet: हर कोई, हर रोज़, हमेशा । Darwaza Band toh Beemari Band! @swachhbharat @narendramodi @pmoindia @bachchan @shwetabachchan #50yrsofBigB #BigB #amitabhbachchan ❤ #ABEFTeam #bachchan #amitabh #bollywood ❤ #jayabachchan #abhishekbachchan #aishwaryaraibachchan #aishwaryarai #photography #navyananda #shwetabachchan #BRAHMASTRA #ThugsOfHindostan #shahrukhkhan #JHUND #katrinakaif #COVID19 #آمیتاب_باچان #بالیوود #بازیگر #خواننده #نویسنده #کارگردان #کاتریناکیف #کرونا

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Earlier, when the virus was still in a nascent stage in India, and the Prime Minister had announced the first Janata Curfew, Bachchan senior was still making headlines. Then, in a tweet that has now been deleted, he had claimed that vibrations from clapping, and blowing conch shells would destroy the potency of the virus.

His reasoning was that the Janata curfew happened to coincide with “amavasya”, the darkest day of the month.

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His “opinion” annoyed social media users, including writer Varun Grover, who once again, asserted that a man of his stature should be careful about what he tweets to his millions of followers.

Days later, however, when the #9Baje9Min campaign was making headlines, the actor tweeted the infamously fake photo of India lit up from space. At least the image wasn’t credited to Nasa this time…

Following the latest of the octogenarian’s tweets, a joke petition started doing the rounds, seeking for WhatsApp to be uninstalled from his phone. The petition also names Anand Mahindra, whose tweet about Indians finding novel solutions to fix coronavirus, and shows two Indians wearing masks made of leaves, was called insensitive.

As we enter another week of lockdown, with no end in sight, hopefully, the petition will act as a reminder to celebrities and influencers that they need to be more responsible when talking about the pandemic.

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