Healthcare/Biosafety

Banana Conspiracy Timeline: From Ebola to Coronaviruses

30 January, 2020

This banana duct-taped to a wall is definitely not the art installation by Maurizio Cattelan which was estimated and sold at USD 120,000 at one of Miami’s art auctions. 'Myth Detector's banana 'timeline' reflects the conspiracies that were inspired by a banana and banana-caused viruses at different times.

The discovery of the coronavirus and human casualties caused by its spread was followed by a new wave of disinformation and conspiracies in various countries around the world. One of the conspiracies spread in Georgia by Facebook messenger is related to banana. Screenshot, published by Facebook page “Georgia first of all”, reported that coronavirus was spread via bananas in various countries. According to the page, they received similar messages more than 50 times via messenger.

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The material of an identical content was spread on Pikabu.ru, a Russian aggregator website, that distributes a user-generated content. According to one of the users, the main TV channel reported a ban on eating bananas in response to a coronavirus. The author of the status encouraged others to disseminate the information through the group chats.

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Coronavirus has transmitted from living organisms - animals - and any evidence, as if bananas or other food products transmit it, has not yet been revealed. Moreover, bananas have been a source of various conspiracies for years, and was considered to be a source of spreading the Ebola, then AIDS and swine flu groundlessly and without any scientific justification.

The “Myth Detector” offers a timeline of conspiracies that considered banana as a source of different conspiracies in different years: 

Type of virus

Year

Conspiracy

Media Source

Ebola 2014 In 2014, Tajik service of “Radio Freedom” reported about the fears of the citizens of Tajikistan, since the information as if Ebola virus transmitted by contact with exotic fruits, namely bananas massively disseminated among the population. Rus.Ozod.org
Zika 2016

 

False information, as if blue clothing attracts the mosquitoes transmitting Zika virus, has been actively spread in Georgian as well as in Russian internet space. It was also written in media, that mosquitoes love to bite people who eat bananas.

Mediamall.ge

Ee.sputniknews.ru

AIDS

2016

2018

 

 

The identical text had been spreading for several years as if it was possible to get AIDS by eating bananas. For more credibility, the fake story was accompanied by a photo with a fake and cloned СNN logo.

Lipetskmedia.ru

Dratyti.info

Mediacity.ge

 

Swine flu

2019

 

False information as if bananas were contaminated by swine flu and the virus was disseminated from them was spread in the internet space. For proof, there is a photo depicting a red- colored banana pulp. In fact, fungal or bacterial disease of the fruit causes red coloring of banana pulp. While eating it isn’t dangerous for human health.

Geotimes.ge

Coronavirus

 

2020

 

The information as if a new type of coronavirus is injected into bananas is being actively disseminated in Georgia through social networks as well as on Russian web pages. 

Facebook page Georgia first of all

Pikabu.ru


About the sources

Besides social and traditional media, conspiracies about the viruses disseminated via bananas are spread by click bait or in other words, bait cites, that try to attract readers and make money by sensational headlines and emotional photos and clicks on links. One such site that spread the information about transmitting of AIDS virus through bananas is Dratyti.info, which uses faked CNN screenshot as a source.

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Fake CNN screenshot

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CNN’s real logo

Except from the fact that American TV channel CNN’s logo significantly differs from the fake one, the link pointed as a source leads us to an unclear page instead of CNN. 

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Prepared by Giorgi Inalishvili, Maiko Ratiani, Ilia Sadghobelashvili