Chinese tech major Tencent Global has clarified that media reports with claims relating to a higher death toll from the coronavirus outbreak – attributing them to the ‘Epidemic Situation Tracker’ on its website -- were based on  doctored images, and therefore false.     

Citing screenshots purported to have been taken from Tencent’s website,  Taiwan News  had reported that the death toll from the coronavirus outbreak might have already soared to 24,589, against the official confirmed deaths of 636 people (as on Friday). The report suggested that the spread of the virus has been downplayed to keep panic at bay.

 Minutes after releasing the figures on its website, Tencent updated it to reflect official data as approved by the Chinese government,  Taiwan News  claimed.    

Series of tweets

Reacting to the news report, Tencent Global, in a series of tweets, said: “Unfortunately, several social media sources have circulated doctored images of our ‘Epidemic Situation Tracker’ featuring false information which we never published.

"Tencent uses technology for good and is disappointed with this type of unscrupulous behavior. Tencent does not condone the dissemination of inaccurate information and fake news, especially during this sensitive period.”