- April Fools’ Day is effectively canceled this year, with some nations prohibiting coronavirus-related pranks.
- But while such measures may be justifiable, they indicate our failure to assess whether a news source is reliable.
- The cancelation also indicates that we still don’t know enough about the coronavirus to separate fact from fiction.
The coronavirus has canceled April Fools’ Day. Countless businesses and websites have decided to forego pranks this year. Meanwhile, a handful of countries have even outlawed jokes related to the coronavirus.
Such steps are arguably justified, seeing as how we’re living in a time of unprecedented panic and hysteria. However, canceling April Fools’ is sad indictment of how society, in an age of mass digital media, has lost the ability to separate fact and fiction.
It’s also an alarming indication of how little we know for certain about the coronavirus.
It’s Not April Fools’ Day Today
April 1 is usually April Fools’ Day. But not this year.
A number of countries are threatening prosecution or fines for coronavirus-related pranks.
In Thailand, Covid-19-themed jokes could bring you a jail sentence of up to five years. In Taiwan, you can receive a $100,000 fine. And in India, states have threatened to take legal action against April Fools’ pranksters.
And it’s not only governments. Business such as Heinz and Lego have announced they won’t be doing anything for April Fools’ this year. Even Google won’t be making any of its famed April Fools’ announcements today.
Basically, fear of spreading misinformation about the coronavirus has canceled April Fools’ Day. And it seems that most people on the web agree with canceling the annual custom.