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Dubai launches WhatsApp number to verify rumours

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The internet is a great source for information and a veritable hub for cat memes. In short, it can be great. But with almost every person in the world sharing and exchanging information, sometimes things aren’t always accurate – just ask any Kardashian.

To help the public decipher the fact from the fiction (not celebrity gossip, of course, but anything that pertains to public safety), Dubai Municipality have launched a WhatsApp number that the public can contact with concerns. You can send videos, images and messages to +971 501 077 799 to have a rumour looked into by Municipality officials. Within eight hours the rumour will be validated.

Mohammad Ahmad Al Looz, Head of the Complaints and Suggestions Section and Acting Director of the Contact Centre spoke to Gulf News about the type of rumours that are exaggerated or made up on social media.  “Most of the rumours are about shampoos being harmful for the hair, beauty products causing skin reactions, food products being carcinogenic or contaminated and restaurants being unhygienic,” he said.

A recent example of the kind of rumours that circulate online was that apple seeds contain high levels of toxic cyanide. Dubai Municipality looks into such rumours, to ensure the public aren’t needlessly scared, and told the public that, actually, the reason people don’t eat apple seeds is that they are bitter, not because they are toxic.

As well as using the WhatsApp number, you can also contact Dubai Municipality through its social media pages to verify “doubtful news and rumours”. Launching the number on its Facebook page, they said:
“Dubai Municipality adopts the principle of transparency and believes in the importance of eradicating rumors quickly and logically.”

So next time you see something doing the rounds online such as toxic food and shampoo, you’ve got an easy way to check it out.

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