Festival goers at Burning Man in the Nevada desert are battling severe mud after a storm inundated the event, forcing organizers to close the only road leading in and out. But because of those dire circumstances, a lot of misinformation has started surfacing on social media. Indeed, some people claim that an Ebola outbreak started at Burning Man. But this is not true at all.
Rumors of an Ebola outbreak began on Saturday on the social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter. X has a crowdsourced method of fact-checking misinformation on the site, known as Community Notes, but none of the tweets I’ve seen so far on Saturday have found Notes.
shared by at least two accounts fake screenshot from cdc About the Fake Ebola Outbreak at Burning Man a verified user Claiming that the CDC sent and deleted the tweet below. However, there is no evidence that the CDC tweeted anything about Ebola in Black Rock City.
X no longer verifies someone’s identity with a blue check mark, a feature that used to help weed out misinformation on the site. But after Elon Musk bought the platform, it got rid of the legacy verification system and now allows anyone with $8 to buy Check Mark.
Another X user claimed to have been at Burning Man on Saturday and insisted tested positive for Ebola. But it is quite clear from the reactions to the tweet that he is joking.
Other accounts have spread misinformation about quarantine zone Being set up at Burning Man. The account also falsely claimed that planes were heading to the area as part of a blockade.
Again, there is no evidence that anyone at Burning Man has been infected with Ebola. But that doesn’t mean the people at Burning Man aren’t struggling. Organizers of the festival have asked attendees to conserve food and water in view of the muddy conditions. Burning Man takes place in the middle of nowhere, which means everyone needs to be self-sufficient in a way that makes things challenging. It’s not easy running to the local drug store or the nearest hotel for supplies when the weather turns bad.
With an estimated 70,000 people still trapped at Burning Man, more rain is expected in the area tonight. And according to CNN, the rainfall that has fallen over the past few days is at a level that parts of the desert have seen for three months.
Be safe out there. And don’t listen to the misinformation on X. Things may be tough for the people at Burning Man right now, but there’s no firestorm and no Ebola outbreak.