VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Rewritten story on woman ‘going blind’ due to a mobile game NEEDS CONTEXT

Philnetizen.com, a site that has previously published articles that lacked context or were misleading, rewrote an almost two-year-old news report without important contextual details.

Bearing the headline, “21-anyos na babae, nabulag ang isang mata matapos maglaro ng mobile game buong araw (21-year-old woman blinded in one eye after playing mobile games the whole day),” the June 5 story merely translated an October 2017 report by several foreign news outlets.

The Daily Mail, South China Morning Post, International Business Times and a number of other news organizations reported on Oct. 6, 2017 about a Chinese woman losing sight in her right eye after playing the mobile game King of Glory for hours the day before.

Philnetizen.com did not specify the nationality of the woman but carried the same information, image and quote in the 2017 news reports.

It said an ophthalmologist from a local hospital reportedly diagnosed the woman with retinal artery occlusion, which philnetizen.com wrongly described as “permanent blindness.” The diagnosis refers to a blockage in a blood vessel of the eye.

The Daily Mail added in its story that some doctors in the United Kingdom said there was “no good evidence” of a direct link between prolonged exposure to mobile games and the risk of retinal artery occlusion. It further said the diagnosis is evidence of some form of cardiovascular disease or diabetes.

New York Daily News in its 2017 report on the Chinese woman also said there could also have been “an underlying medical issue” in relation to the woman’s diagnosis.

Philnetizen.com’s report is among a number of misleading and false stories recently published claiming health risks associated with playing mobile games for extended periods of time.

VERA Files Fact Check in May debunked a false report claiming a man got cancer from playing Mobile Legends: Bang Bang.

Traffic to the report from social media largely came from the pages Pilipinas Press, PhilNetizen and Jacob Beats.

Philnetizen.com was created in September 2018.


(Editor's Note: VERA Files has partnered with Facebook to fight the spread of disinformation. Find out more about this partnership and our methodology.)

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