April Fools’ Day pranks canceled, some countries warn of punishment for COVID-19 misinformation


A nurse holds a temperature gun used to measure people’s temperatures, a precaution against the spread of the new coronavirus, while processing incoming Haitians at the border crossing Jimani, in the Dominican Republic, Tuesday, March 17, 2020. For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia. (AP Photo/Dieu Nalio Chery)

Data pix.

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — Today is April 1, also known as April Fools' Day. But some companies are opting out of pranks this year. That's because they fear it could do more harm and spread misinformation.

That includes Google. They have a longstanding tradition of pranks, but officials said this year they would refrain from their annual ritual of sharing April Fools' Day jokes across the company's platforms.

Instead, they want pay respect to those who are fighting COVID-19 and want to make sure they are a reliable tool for those who are looking for relevant information in the midst of the pandemic.

Other companies are taking a bit of a different approach. T-Mobile wants people to "give thanks not pranks" by expressing their gratitude to the helpers of the world and help them raise money for the Boys & Girls Clubs' COVID-19 relief fund that supports our nation's first responders and healthcare workers.

You can do that by tweeting #givethanksnotpranks and tagging T-Mobile. You can also text thanks to 50555.

A lot of countries across the world are taking the spread of misinformation extremely seriously.

In Thailand, officials say jokes about the virus could end with you behind bars.

In Taiwan, the president announced that anyone spreading rumors could face up to three years in jail and a nearly $100K fine.

Meanwhile, in the U.S., #NoApril is trending on Twitter. Americans say it's not the time for humor this year.

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