In India, where disinformation — especially on WhatsApp — remains a pervasive problem, politicians made similar appeals.
“The state govt won’t allow anyone to spread rumors/panic on #Corona,” tweeted Maharashtra state’s home minister Anil Deshmukh.
“We urge citizens to verify information and only share messages from trusted sources and not fall for fake news,” Pranay Ashok, a spokesman for Mumbai Police, told AFP, adding that anyone found spreading fake news would be prosecuted.
Many well-known brands with a prior track record of jumping on the annual bandwagon were steering clear of the tradition this year.
Google, a company renowned for its elaborate annual stunts, told its employees it would “take the year off from that tradition out of respect for all those fighting the COVID-19 pandemic,” according to an internal email obtained by Business Insider.
James Herring, from London-based PR agency Taylor Herring, had the following warning.
“Tip for any PR agencies planning an April Fools Day stunt,” he wrote last week on Twitter. “Just. Don’t.”