Gasoline without taxes: the hoax that is going around on WhatsApp

On WhatsApp is going viral a message announcing the discount of the price of gasoline, but it is a hoax

Since the morning of October 4, a message is going viral on WhatsApp, passing from group to group and spreading more and more. The text reads that today (October 4), from 14 to 18, some service stations will lower the prices of gasoline to protest against the Government Conte.

Since the message has gone viral and many are talking about it on social networks, it is necessary to explain well what it is. We are facing a hoax, a fake news created to create debate within the country. A method already experimented in the past and that has always brought much luck to those who have tried to exploit it. In addition, a platform like WhatsApp lends itself perfectly to this type of content: in a short time, thanks to the presence of numerous groups, the message-whistle reaches thousands and thousands of users. And with the possibility of forwarding it to their contacts, the virality is immediate.

WhatsApp in the last period has tried to block the spread of fake-news by limiting to 5 the number of times that you can forward a message. Compared to before, the situation has slightly improved, but much still needs to be done to protect the weakest groups from this type of messages.

The message that is circulating on WhatsApp

The message that is spreading in these hours on WhatsApp is very simple.  "Today, between 14 and 18, the big gasoline companies will sell fuel without taxes to protest against the government Conte bis. The price of gasoline will be 0.60 EUR and the price of diesel will be 0.45 EUR. Here is the link with the list of participating gas stations."

The price of gasoline is one of the most debated topics in the country and many political forces use it to increase consensus. Despite many promises, excise taxes on gasoline and diesel have remained intact, with the price varying according to the oil market. The text created ad hoc by some pranksters takes two topics of interest (gasoline prices and the Conte Bis government) and turns them into a fake news.

How to defend yourself from fake messages on WhatsApp

It doesn't take much to understand that it is a fake news. Let's start with the prices: no service station can decrease the price of gasoline and diesel by about one euro, especially in protest with the birth of a government. In addition, clicking on the link at the end of the image opens an image with a GIF showing a vulgar gesture.

To defend yourself from this type of messages the only thing you can do is not forward them to other friends and do not respond to contacts that send them to us. In this way they do not go viral and the message is forgotten.

Also, we recommend you not to click on links of which you do not know the sender. They are usually used for phishing campaigns that aim to steal users' credentials.