English, Fake News

This screenshot of a ‘BBC News’ article linking the Black Fungus infections to cow urine is a morphed one


A screenshot of an article purportedly published by the ‘BBC News’ is being shared on social media with a claim that Indian scientists have discovered 9,000 rare black fungus infections in persons who drink cow urine every day. The purported ‘BBC News’ article was published with a title, ‘Black Fungus: Indian Scientists find link with cow urine 9,000 cases of rare infection’. A few other users shared a clear image of this article on their social media handles. Let’s verify the claim made in the post.

The archived version of the post can be seen here.

Claim: Screenshot of the ‘BBC News’ article linking the black fungus infection with cow urine.

Fact: The photo shared in the post is a morphed one. BBC did not publish any news article linking the Black fungus infections to cow urine. The difference in alignment and grammatical errors in the screenshot confirms that it is a morphed picture. Hence, the claim made in the post is FALSE.

When we searched to check whether BBC had published such an article on their website, we could not find any such article linking the Black fungus infections to cow urine on the ‘BBC News’ website. On searching for the Black fungus related articles on the ‘BBC News’ website, we found several news articles about the increasing number of black fungus cases in India. One such article was published with the title, ‘Black Fungus: India reports nearly 9,000 cases of rare infection’. This article was also written by Soutik Biswas, the man who was mentioned as the author in the screenshot of the alleged article.

On comparing the article shared in the post with the actual published on the ‘BBC News’ website, we could observe differences in alignment in both the articles. The line dividing the article and headline in the screenshot article is much darker when compared with the normal article published on the ‘BBC News’ website. Also, the grammatical errors in the screenshot confirm that it as a morphed picture.

On 09 May 2021, BBC had published an article explaining the causes of Mucormycosis, the Black fungus infection.  In the article, Mucormycosis was mentioned as a very rare infection that is caused by exposure to mucor mold. This article mentioned that mucor mold was commonly found in soil, plants, manure, decaying fruits, and vegetables. The black fungus infection reportedly affects the sinuses, the brain, and the lungs and can be life-threatening in diabetic or severely immunocompromised individuals, such as cancer patients or people with HIV/AIDS. This article has never mentioned the effects of cow urine in spreading the black fungus infection.

When this morphed article went viral on social media, Soutik Biswas, the BBC Correspondent had responded through his Twitter handle. Soutik Biswas shared the fact-check article published by ‘Boom Live’ on his Twitter handle. In the fact-check article published by ‘Boom Live’, it is clearly stated that BBC had not published any news article by linking the Black fungus infection to cow urine. FACTLY has also mailed to ‘BBC News’ for clarification regarding this viral screenshot. This article will be updated once we get a response from the ‘BBC News’.

To sum it up, ‘BBC News’ did not publish an article linking the Black Fungus infections with cow urine.


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