Claim: “Bananas are one of the most popular fruits worldwide. such as Vitamin C. All of these support health. people who follow a high fibre diet have a lower risk of cardiovascular disease. Bananas contain water and fibre, both of which promote regularity and encourage digestive health.
“Research made by scientists from the University of Queensland in Australia have proven that bananas improve your immune system due to the super source of Vitamins B-6 and helps prevent coronavirus. Having a banana a day keeps the coronavirus away.”
A video has been circulating on multiple WhatsApp groups in Liberia, claiming that eating “a banana a day keeps the coronavirus away.” The video is doctored with false claims.
The video, which was produced in the form of a news broadcast clip, recommends that eating a banana a day could help prevent humans from being infected with the novel coronavirus (COVID-19)
For over 15 months, the video has been in circulation on various social media platforms, including TikTok, YouTube, Facebook and until recently Twitter and WhatsApp platforms in Liberia.
The video, which has been forwarded several times on WhatsApp between March 2021 and June 2021, was traced to a March 15, 2020 post on Facebook here using Google Reverse Image Search. It has been viewed over 2,700 times on the Facebook page and now circulates widely on WhatsApp.
The claim has been attributed to researchers from the Australia’s University of Queensland, adding that they have discovered that bananas can help prevent COVID-19 infection.
Same video, same claim but many edited versions
The 58-second video, which shows a news report by the Australian Broadcasting Commission (ABC), with the same banana claim, has been edited severally especially by a TikTok user, @dil_ka_raja2020 and YouTuber to include these texts inscriptions: “Bananas can beat this virus, Must Watch”; “Banana a day keeps the Coronavirus away.” He has over 12,000 followers with over 167,000 likes on his TikTok page.
Also, an edited 27-second version of the video posted from Pakistan on YouTube on 14th March 2020 has also been viewed 318 times.
Verification: A Google Reverse Image Search of this footage after extracting the keyframes using InVid – one of the OSINT tools – We found the ABC news clip titled: “Race is on as Australian researchers rush to make coronavirus vaccine” on its official YouTube channel.
The Stage Media also discovered that the opening keyframes of the ABC News’ YouTube video (as shown on the LEFT screenshot) were similar to the first keyframe of the viral WhatsApp video (as shown on the RIGHT image). See the comparison of the two videos below as circled in red lines:
However, there was nowhere in the three-minute, 39-second ABC News (Australia) video where reference was made to bananas beating or preventing the COVID-19.
The Associated Press (AP) had earlier reached out via email to a University of Queensland spokesperson who confirmed that “the video is fake and said they strongly recommend people to not share it.”
Similarly, a Queensland University scientist Keith Chappell, who discussed the university’s efforts to develop a vaccine against the novel coronavirus in the ABC News video, had also told the AFP that the banana claim video “is definitely NOT true.”
In addition, video footage from the eight- to ten-second of the misleading WhatsApp video was seen on the Shutterstock videos website, using Reverse Image Search – another OSINT tool.
Further findings showed that the footage from the 12- to 23-second of the viral video were extracted from a YouTube clip made by Herbs Cures titled: “Health Benefits of Banana” and uploaded online on March 1, 2020.
Also, the ‘Herbs cures’ logo could be seen in the viral video. The ‘Herbs Cures’ video only listed the benefits of bananas and did not claim that bananas could prevent COVID-19 in the four-minute, thirty-eight-second video.
Additional analysis also showed that the footage from the 24- to 31-second of the viral video were extracted from a news video published by the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) in February 2020 titled: “How Scientists Are Trying to Develop a Coronavirus Vaccine.”
Conclusion: Fact Check articles by Rappler and AP News quoted the University of Queensland spokesperson in an email that the video is fake and said they strongly recommend people to not share it.