Coronavirus Malta Facebook page stokes fears for profit

The administrator of a Facebook group that shares ‘updates’ on the status of Coronavirus across the globe and promotes the sale of anti-infection masks at exorbitant prices is persevering with his predictions of epidemic catastrophes in Malta.

In the most recent post, the administrator of the page CoronaVirus Malta EU – Updates who goes by the name of William Hawk lent his spin on the “survival of the fittest”, suggesting that those who do not adapt (by buying his products) become extinct.

The Facebook group was set up at the end of January and the number of members escalated incredibly quickly. ‘Updates’ are posted regularly, mostly about the deaths that coronavirus is claiming as it spreads across the globe. So far, no cases of the virus in Malta have been reported and health authorities and the media are giving updates on the situation on an almost day-to-day basis.

The COVID – 19 (coronavirus) has so far claimed the lives of more than 2,800 people worldwide and more than 83,000 infected, according to official figures.

Last week, social media was flooded with people in Malta emptying supermarket shelves to stock up and buy basic necessities. According to the Health Ministry, there is no need for the public to wear face masks.

The aptly named Hawk does not source his statistics when he says that Malta is likely to see 6,000 deaths in the near future plus 60,000 critical cases. He also predicts the national health services will be short of staff and find it hard to cope with those requiring treatment.

The group has more than 33,000 members. Even after people expressed their concern about the real intentions behind the daily posts, the administrator has kept on posting and making apocalyptic predictions about the future in Malta should the public fail to take necessary precautions to buy the stuff he is selling.

One particular critic on Facebook went into elaborate detail on how the page is using the fear of the Coronavirus to make some extra cash, saying there was “opportunistic profiteering happening in the group”.

The Hawk tried to discredit these individuals who are calling him out for trying to rip off scared citizens by brushing them off as Facebook trolls who “laugh at the suffering of others”. He even goes on to say that he will pursue legal paths in the near future to defend himself from “character assassination of defamation”.

Posts are linked to a website that sells protective gear. The website set up on 22 February was promoted as accepting only cash on delivery.

The merchandise promoted on this website is marked as ‘sold out’. A screenshot of an advert on Maltapark showed that anti-virus masks were being sold at €140 euros for a set of five.

A quick look at the Facebook profile of the administrator shows that the administrator likes to indulge in quoting phrases he created. He shares quotes of himself like “grab fear by the throat and make sure that it never speaks again” and “the past and future only happen now, in your mind”. Really.

                           
                               
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