Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Kenyan ''Red Call'' hoax goes viral

''Red call'' hoax has gone viral in Kenya, with convergence featuring blogs, social media, text messages and now mass media, a few months after another Kenyan internet sensation, Makmende, made it to CNN and Twitter Trending Topics.

Red Call or Death Call refers to forwarded mobile phone messages warning people not to accept calls from some numbers which allegedly transmit high-frequency signals, causing brain haemorrhage and death.

According to informed estimates, thousands of mobile text messages have been sent from 31 August, with Kenyan mobile phone firms making thousands of dollars in revenue. Reactions have flooded Facebook, Twitter and blogs.

There has been genuine panic among Kenyans, some in backwater rural areas, as local-language radios picked up the issue on 31 August and on the morning of 1 September.

And now, Kenya police, on traditional media, have sought to calm tempers. They has asked Kenyans to ignore the messages.

The latest craze follows Makmende, a fictional Kenyan superhero character which became the first viral internet sensation in Kenya earlier this year.

See post below for background details of the story.

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