Amidst the Coronavirus outbreak, various posts have gone viral on the internet. The latest addition to this list is an article (archive) by the website ab-tc.com. The report’s headline reads, “China seek for court’s approval to kill the over 20,000 coronavirus patients to avoid further spread of the virus.”
On February 6, BJP Maharashtra spokesperson Shweta Shalini tweeted (archive), “Human Rights ? Anyone…..“
Alt News noticed this article is also being circulated on Twitter. We have also received several requests on WhatsApp (+91 76000 11160).
Classic fake news website
No reports by the mainstream media
Alt News did a keyword search and found that no mainstream media has reported on the viral claim that “China seek for court’s approval to kill the over 20,000 coronavirus patients to avoid further spread of the virus.” However, Alt News found that multiple media outlets including TIME, BNO News, WIRED and RThave reported that over 20,000 confirmed cases have been reported world worldwide.
After analysing the article and website, Alt News noticed that the home page of ab-tc.com showed several signs of being an inauthentic source of information.
For starters, the homepage, from February 7 edition of the website, had a story from August 17, 2019.
The most striking anomaly was that the viral article doesn’t have a dateline but only the byline ‘local correspondent’. The screenshot below highlights four articles with the same byline. Moreover, the article doesn’t cite any sources.
Statement by Singapore government against ab-tc.com
Alt News did a keyword search on Google and found a statement by the Singapore government. According to the statement, “On 30 Jan 2020, a website called ‘City News’ published an article titled “BREAKING NEWS: Singapore records six more coronavirus case, total of 16 now” (https://ab-tc.com/singapore-coronavirus-cases/) claiming that five Singaporeans have contracted the Wuhan coronavirus without going to China.”
In response, the Singapore government said, “As of 9pm on 30 Jan 2020, there is no local transmission of the Wuhan virus in Singapore. All confirmed cases in Singapore to date are Chinese nationals who travelled from Wuhan.”
Report by Snopes
Performing another keyword search, Alt News found a report by Snopes, a US-based fact-checking website, on the viral article on February 6. Snopes stated that the “website (ab-tc.com) is full of junk news stories” and cited multiped false reports published by the website in the past.
The report added, “For instance, a July 2010 article (still featured on the homepage) carries the headline, “BREAKING: New York Giants coach Pat Shurmur has died.” But Shurmur didn’t die in 2010. In fact, he is still alive as of this writing and was hired as the offensive coordinator for the Denver Broncos in January 2020. The website has also published hoax articles about “cannibal restaurants” (debunked here), death hoaxes about celebrity couples (debunked here), doctored tweets from U.S. President Donald Trump, and a junk news article that falsely claimed Prince Andrew had committed suicide.”
Alt News also found that Lead Stories, another US-based fact-checking website, has published multiple reports on ab-tc.com.
Alexa, a US-based web traffic analysis company, has ranked the website 504,468 in global internet engagement.
Alt News also searched ab-tc.com on DomainBigData, domain name investigation tools. The website is registered to Alim Zaidi from Muscut. The email id associated with the domain is [email protected].
According to the DomainBigData, this id is associated with two more domains – almuqeem.net (not functional any more) and globalpillars.com. Alt News noticed that globalpillars.com recognises itself as DomainNameSales. According to the website, it has been featured in Bloomberg Businessweek, The Boston Globe, MarketWatch, Reuters and Yahoo Finance.
Alt News did keyword research and noticed that no reports were published by the following media outlets. This shows the owner of ab-tc.com domain has multiple websites which mislead people.
Therefore, the viral article published by ab-tc.com is fabricated and the website should not be considered as a reliable source of information. The claim that China has sought the court’s approval to take the life of 20,000 coronavirus patients is false.