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On the unofficial Ramdev website that claimed to have an Ebola cure

Baba Ramdev has denied any connections to the website RamdevMedicine.com that claimed to offer an ayurvedic “health pack” to cure & prevent Ebola disease and noted that he has not given any statements pertaining to the disease. He now plans to now take legal action against the site.

This follows a couple of reports from The Hindu earlier yesterday that mentions an advertisement from RamdevMedicine.com in which Ramdev had allegedly claimed that Ebola virus can be prevented by using this health package.

However, it looks like The Hindu jumped the gun since the site does have a disclaimer at the footer saying it “is not an official website of Swami Ramdev and Divya pharmacy or Patanjali Yog Peeth, Haridwar”.

Ramdev Medicine

And The Hindu was not the only one. Several people on Twitter including journalists also fell for this unofficial site:

A couple of things to note about this development (Nikhil adds):

1. Visibility of disclaimers: This development raises a question as to how visible such disclaimers need to be, because even though there is a disclaimer, it is usually hidden in the footer, due to which consumers can get easily fooled.

2. The pace at which information spreads and the liability of the tweeter: A story in the Hindu is deemed to have been verified, and readers spread this information without verifying it for themselves. It’s not their liability, and one can’t expect them to verify this information, because that onus is of the publication. Then again, how many people click on these links?

3. The ability to clarify via the web: While traditionally, clarifications on issues such as this needed to be issued directly to publications, Ramdev has a verified Twitter account, via which he can issue an official disclaimer, and point out the publications issues. The self correcting nature of the social web keeps publications accountable.

4. A few days later: Someone might chance across a tweet making fun of Ramdev, despite the clarification, might have absolutely no context of the fact that it’s been denied and still believe it.

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As a sidenote, while Ramdev doesn’t have a cure for Ebola, he still does claim to have cures for other things like AIDS, Cancer and Homosexuality.

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