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Fact check: Video showing face masks containing tracker intended as a joke

Social media users have been sharing a video, which they claim proves that face masks contain trackers. However, the caption on the original video shows that it is satire and that the video maker inserted the tracker into the mask themselves.

Reuters Fact Check. REUTERS

Over half a million people have viewed the video shared by @RealJamesWoods on Twitter (here), which shows a man picking out one mask from a pile of face masks and running his phone over the mask. He then gets a notification as his phone moves over the mask which then reveals his supposed location on Google Maps. He breaks the mask open to reveal a flat, metallic chip inside. Two male voices can be heard expressing disbelief in Greek.

When sharing the video or retweeting James Woods’ tweet, social media users have added comments implying they believe this may be real. Comments include “Well, how about that China hijack feeling by way of that cleaver [sic], however, sneaky, tracking device… in an innocent mask!” (here), “Tracking devices in masks. You okay with this?” (here), “Tracking device in masks from China” (here),  “MASKS WITH TRACKING DEVICE” (here), and “TRACKING DEVICES IN DISPOSABLE MASKS!!!” (here)

Greek Fact Checker Ellinika Hoaxes (www.ellinikahoaxes.gr/) pointed Reuters to the person who posted the original video, visible here  . The caption clearly explains in the caption that they put the chip into the mask themself and that the video is intended as satire: “Of course this is trolling! This chip is a common NFC which we put in the mask for this video.”

NFC, or near-field communication, allows phones and other devices to share data with other NFC-equipped devices when they are within range of one another (here).

Reuters has recently debunked various claims related to face masks (  here  ,  here  ) and microchips being used in relation to coronavirus ( here  ,  here  ).

VERDICT

False. The caption on the original video explains that they put an NFC chip into the mask in order to make a satirical video.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our work to fact-check social media posts  here  .

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