Coronavirus: 'Fake news' network busted in Hungary

A woman's temperature is taken during a mock demonstration for the media at Budapest's Liszt Ferenc Airport on Feb 5, 2020.
A woman's temperature is taken during a mock demonstration for the media at Budapest's Liszt Ferenc Airport on Feb 5, 2020.PHOTO: AFP

BUDAPEST (AFP) - Hungarian police said on Saturday (Feb 8) they had busted a network of "fake news" websites that reported alleged coronavirus-related deaths in Hungary, so far free of reported infections from the deadly virus.

A man and woman are suspected of "operating dozens of fake news portals and linked Facebook pages" claiming that several people have been infected and died from coronavirus, said a statement on the police website.

The sites, whose articles carried sensational headlines, were aimed at increasing traffic and boosting advertisement revenue, said the police.

"A 37-year-old Hungarian woman has collapsed and died in Budapest, probably from coronavirus," read a headline from one of the sites displayed by the police.

Computer equipment was seized at several locations during raids on Friday, said the statement.