Carolina MORENO-CASTRO, University of Valencia, Spain
Empar VENGUT-CLIMENT, University of Valencia, Spain
Lorena CANO-ORÓN, University of Valencia, Spain
Isabel MENDOZA-POUDEREUX, University of Valencia, Spain
Ana María SERRA-PERALES, University of Valencia, Spain
Introduction: Many international research teams began to work since the coronavirus pandemic starting on aspects related to patients' nutrition and health status. That is why taking care of food, avoiding super-processed products and the good quality of life of patients, could minimize the side effects caused by covid-19 (Aman & Masood, 2020; Haupt?Jorgensen, & Buschard, 2020; Laguna et al. 2020; Angelidig et al., 2021; Marti et al., 2020). However, at the same time that researchers were studying the COVID-19 effect on the human beings, during the first wave of the sars cov 2 coronavirus pandemic in Spain, a high number of hoaxes began to spread at high speed through social media (Imhoff & Lamberty, 2020; Moreno et al., 2021).
In this communication, we expose how many scam messages began to spread through the WhatsApp private messaging network -what we called magical ingredients-about natural origin substances that could prevent or cure covid-19. For this communication, it chose the top 100 of those ingredients. It studied what format they were disseminated (text, video or audio stream) and whether the element was presented in isolation or with other food groups. The dissemination of these natural substances or ingredients would not imply any problems if it were not for how the messages were spread, in a conspiracy way, alluding to textual fallacies, such as: " Scientists have known about the value of lemon for years, but they do not want to make it public because... ", or" the active ingredients in banana have been shown to cure covid-19 ". Methodology: To collect data for this study, we needed looking for the hoaxes spread via private message channels. For this purpose, a Spanish mobile phone number was provided so that people could participate in the research, voluntarily sending the hoaxes that they received on their devices, following the protocols for personal data protection established by the Organic Law on the Protection of Personal Data (Ley Orgánico de Protección de Datos, LOPD). From18 March to 18 April 2020, 236 people voluntarily sent a total of 2,353 messages. We selected for this communication the top 100 ingredients that were spread as health claims to prevent o cure the covid-19 via WhatsApp. ?Results: The results showed that natural origin substances with more visibility among the hoaxes were classically linked to respiratory infections (lemon, honey, oregano, bay leaf, eucalyptus, ginger, mint, pepper, chamomile...etc.). Likewise, these magical ingredients have an appealing nature, linked to natural food and organic and bio diets. I addition, the leading voice of the messages was the majority a health worker. This point is only how the person who told the story was presented, and sometimes this was false. Funding: This work has received funding from the Spanish Ministry of Science, Innovation & Universities and co-financed with FEDER funds from the European Commission.