Video that shows tracking device in mask created as satire
CLAIM: Video shows a tracking device in a blue disposable face mask from China.
AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. The creator of the video said he made it as satire. It was later shared on social media, with comments suggesting that masks people wear actually have such devices.
THE FACTS: Dimitris Ververelis, who lives in Greece, told The Associated Press that he posted the video on Sept. 14 as a joke. Ververelis shared the video on Facebook with a caption written in Greek, “See it before they download it.”
The video shows an iPhone being run across a blue face mask to scan it. It then appears to receive the geolocation of the phone. A person then examines the mask, pulls out an NFC chip from inside of the mask. NFC is a set of wireless technologies that supports communication between devices.
Two days later, he edited the post to clarify that it was supposed to be a joke: “Of course this is trolling! The chip is a common NFC that we put on the mask for the video… .”
Still, the video circulated widely on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube last week.
One user on Facebook claimed the video was filmed in China. “China mask tracking please! We have reached the point where you are asking for your tracking device. What will you ask for next?” the Facebook post falsely stated.
“How many folks around the world ordered this type of #mask from #China? Billions? Or, how many had these #TrackingChips in them? And why? So now we all have to rip the damn things half up to search for a hidden “chip” before we can put them on...which defeats the purpose,” a Twitter user said, sharing the satirical post as real.
“The video is a sarcasm to those people who think masks are bad and contain chips to control humanity,” Ververelis said in an email to the AP. “I programmed the NFC tag to show a location when scanned with a smartphone with NFC technology.”
“It is sad there are so many people who still think it is real and we try to cover it, although we have written a big description. To tell you the truth I considered many times to remove it,” Ververelis said.
This is part of The Associated Press’ ongoing effort to fact-check misinformation that is shared widely online, including work with Facebook to identify and reduce the circulation of false stories on the platform.
Here’s more information on Facebook’s fact-checking program: https://www.facebook.com/help/1952307158131536