Kenya's Viral Red Call Scare

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September 1, 2010

Kenyan mobile phone users have been in a state of panic over the last two days following the red call rumour.

The rumour started doing rounds on social media sites Twitter and Facebook yesterday. The rumour says that picking ip calls from a private number or the following numbers 7888308001, 9316048121, 9876266211, 9888854137, 9876715587 could cause death. The numbers are always in a red hence the name “red call”.

The rumour is causing panic as people are calling and sending SMS messges warning loved ones not to pick calls from unknown numbers. Panic that Fm stations have been fuelling in their breakfast shows.

The Kenyan Communication industry regulator, CCK (Communications Commission of Kenya) today released a statement terming the phenomenon a hoax.

The red call hoax is not a new occurence. The Hoax originated in Asia six years ago. The hoax has grown to become an urban legend.  Pakistan, Cambodia, the Maldives, Nigeria and Malawi have all experienced the hoax. People spread rumours about deaths from high frequency radiation that caused brain hemorrhage.

Mobile technology experts dismissed the rumours as lacking scientific basis. This is because mobile phones cannot emit high frequency radiation as alleged. They argue that if that was the case,then cell phones wouldnot be safe to use.

In the midst of this panic, it appears that the beneficiaries of this hoax would be Mobile Phone operators and Fm stations. Mobile operators will benefit from the large volume of calls and text messages driven by panicky and gullible Kenyans. The FM stations will generate controversy and get people to tune into their shows.

The whole thing is a hoax and should be treated as such. The security apparatus should also check into the same and stop people from causing public panic.
Courtesy of Mike