TFC weekly monitoring report, May 1-7, 2023

TFC weekly monitoring report, May 1-7, 2023

In recent rumors circulating within the past week, the Taiwan Fact-Checking Center has identified three types of rumors that are worth paying attention to:

Political misinformation conveyed through a photo

An online photo shows a sign with the words "Zhongshan Cultural Park" taken at the National Dr. Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall. The rumor claimed that the government secretly changed the name of the memorial hall, which sparked discussions among the public and politicians. 

In fact, the name of the memorial hall has not been changed. The sign with the words "Zhongshan Cultural Park" is actually for the "Zhongshan Park" where the memorial hall is located, which was renamed as Zhongshan Cultural Park to reflect a new landscape design.

Here is our fact-check.

Screenshot of the Facebook post. 

Claims of health risks associated with wearing masks lack scientific evidence

Another popular health rumor claims that wearing a mask will cause too much carbon dioxide inhalation, leading to insufficient oxygen supply to the brain, increased heart rate, and potential risks of lung obstruction if one experiences acid reflux. However, this claim lacks scientific evidence. 

After consulting with medical professionals, including occupational physicians, mask experts, cardiologists, and gastroenterologists, we learned that healthy individuals who wear surgical masks would not experience significant drops in blood oxygen saturation or adverse effects on their physiological functions, such as heart and respiratory rates. 

However, some people may experience subjective discomfort when wearing masks, but these symptoms will disappear once the mask is removed and do not cause long-term harm.

Read our fact-check.

We have also observed two instances of false food safety information in which the bad actors attempted to increase their credibility by using the names of reputable professionals. 

One message claimed to be words from Dr. Wu-Hsiu Chang of the Public Health Department at Yang-Ming Hospital, but in fact, Dr. Chang, the international head of the Show Chwan Medical System, did not make the statement. The claim was falsely attributed to him. 

The other false claim impersonated Professor Chen Hui-Jen of the General Hospital to lend credibility to the misinformation.