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Google denies Gmail is shutting down after viral hoax

Google has reassured users that Gmail is not shutting down despite widespread hoaxes on social media. A viral post falsely claimed the email service would close in August, garnering over seven million views. Google debunked the rumour on the same platform.

Experts warn of the dangers of misinformation, citing the incident as a prime example. Richard Bagnall from Carma emphasizes the need for better tools to verify facts online.

While all social media platforms struggle with misinformation, X, formerly known as Twitter, faces particular criticism.

The EU labelled it as a major spreader of falsehoods in 2023. Despite vows to combat hate speech, X maintains a stance on protecting free speech.

The BBC has approached X for comment about this hoax, which appears to be based on a real email sent by Google in 2023. It notified people that Gmail would stop access to its most basic HTML view.

The original HTML view was used when Gmail launched in 2004 and would be unrecognisable to most people who use the service nowadays.

“We are reaching out to share an important update about Gmail,” the viral post reads.

“After years of connecting millions worldwide, enabling seamless communication, and fostering countless connections, the journey of Gmail is coming to a close.”

Gmail is the world’s most popular email service, with more than 1.5bn active users worldwide, according to Statista.

And despite emphatically rejecting the false claims in the hoax message, Google has indeed shut some services in recent years.

In 2023 alone, Google killed its Stadia gaming service, and its Snapchat-like YouTube Stories feature, and it began closing old and inactive Gmail accounts.

SOURCE: AFRICA NEWS

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