Were Sections of Media and Social Media Spreading Fake News About Banks Ending Free Services?

On January 9 and 10, a rumour spread, mainly on social media, that beginning January 20, 2018, public sector banks were to discontinue all free services. This had been preceded by reports in the media during the last few days claiming or hinting at how banks were going to charge for all or most services beginning January 20:

The ABP story talks about the “viral message” and embedded a video “explaining” how banks will be levying charges:

There were other such reports in the media too, for example:

The above story, for instance, says the following:

Below is a news story from the print media, spreading the unverified news:


And below is a series of screengrabs from zeebiz making a series of false claims:

This appeared to be fake news and on Wednesday, January 10, Rajeev Kumar, Secretary, Department of Financial Services, Ministry of Finance, issued a clear statement denying the rumoured proposal and saying that the Indian Banks’ Association has clarified that what had been circulating on social media and elsewhere is baseless and that there is no such blanket cessation of free services proposed:

Mr Kumar also tweeted the press release from the Indian Banks’ Association:

Both sections of the media and social media thus appear to have bought into and then spread what is false. With the Secretary of the Department of Financial Services issuing the clarification, along with the statement from the Indian Banks’ Association, there cannot be any doubt as to the truth of the matter.