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VERIFY: Viral video using news clips to falsely claim bananas stop coronavirus

Splicing two real news clips together can make a video look more reputable unless the information presented is completely untrue.

WASHINGTON —

Let’s knock out the fact-check part on this story quickly, so the VERIFY team can get to the analysis. A video has been circulating on social media that uses a common disinformation tactic that’s worth learning to spot.

The video posted on Facebook shows an Australian news anchor talking about researchers. The video then goes into messages about bananas boosting individuals immune system. It even claims that bananas can “help prevent coronavirus.”

THE QUESTION:

Do bananas boost your immune system, and can they help “prevent coronavirus?”

THE ANSWER:

Bananas are healthy food and can be a good source of potassium, magnesium, and vitamins B6 and C. However, they don’t “boost” someone's immune system more than any other healthy food.

There’s also no evidence whatsoever that bananas have any ability to “prevent coronavirus.”

WHAT WE FOUND:

It may seem common sense, but bananas are a good source of vitamins. 

An entry in Harvard’s School Of Public Health website said “bananas are nutritious and may even carry the title of the first ‘superfood,’ endorsed by the American Medical Association in the early 20th century as a health food for children and a treatment for celiac disease”

But they don’t have any abilities to stop or prevent strains of the novel coronavirus. The VERIFY looked for any evidence within the WHO or CDC and found nothing, whatsoever.

This video makes unsupported claims and supports them using unrelated news clips.

DISINFORMATION TECHNIQUE: Real clips taken out of context

The viral video starts with an Australian anchor talking about a scientific research project and then bananas pop on screen.

The beginning of the clip is from a real news story from the Australian Broadcasting Company (ABC).

The real story addresses how Australian scientists and researchers are racing to develop a vaccine for the coronavirus strain. If someone were to watch the real video, they'll notice there are no bananas in the video whatsoever. 

The banana video also uses snappy graphics showing human antibodies latching on to and destroying viral invaders. This is also a real clip. It comes from a Wall Street Journal video about the process of developing vaccines.

The graphics in the banana video appear about 53 seconds into the WSJ video. And again...no bananas in the piece either.

The banana video used a pretty common disinformation tactic: They pulled real clips and changed their context to support an unrelated meaning.

Neither of the real videos mentions bananas even once. They’re about finding a vaccine.

This is a good example of why everyone should double-check information on posts online. Especially when they’re posted by someone random and make new claims without evidence.

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