One of the most notorious (but solid, not tabloid) newspapers in the Czech Republic, Lidové noviny, printed a really weird article called “Fighting covid with water of life”. In this article, the author presents that smartphones are playing an important role in fighting coronavirus disease and besides the eRouška app (in English: eFacemask, i.e. the official app developed and promoted by the Czech Government), the international team of doctors developed a brand new app call Cell Wellbeing App.

This new app is allegedly based on quantum mechanics – for example, by approximating the phone to a mug or glass of any liquid, a special “potion of health” increasing immunity and harmonizing your body processes is created by changing molecular structure of the liquid. The author also mentions phrases like “It is known that consumption of water with crystal structure strengthens tranquility and immune system” in the article, citing several “scientists” from all over the world, and also points out that the effects were tested in various foreign healthcare facilities and also in one Czech immunology clinic. The app is available for both Android and iOS, but it is not available at Google Play or AppStore; the reason is simple – the photon frequency must be “fresh” (frequencies saved in the phone memory are not working). To get the app, you thus have to visit a special website.

More than a solid newspaper article, it was a really poor attempt to promote the app by using native advertising. As one of the Czech websites fighting fake news discovered, the name of the Czech clinic where the tests were allegedly made was contained in the link for download of the app. It is thus quite clear that this clinic is financially interested in disseminating the app, most probably paying also for the article in the newspaper to increase sales of the app (monthly fee is ca CZK 80, i.e. USD 3,5). And since COVID-19 really works as a catchphrase these days, it was necessary to add it as well.

The article outraged not only readers, but also professionals in the field of media, medicine and science (criticizing not only the author, but also the editor and even the editor in chief of the newspaper). The major part of the criticism aimed at the fact that at least some of the readers may take this article seriously and drop their vigilance, resulting into being infected not only by COVID-19, but also any other disease. One of the local politicians also intends to file a criminal complaint against the newspaper for dissemination of alarming news.

The editorial office later published an apology, but they messed up even this because for the first time, the apology was quite tiny and published on page 9 of the newspaper in the “Readers' Questions” section, stating that the article “did not meet quality requirements of the newspaper”. Therefore, a second apology followed on page 2 of the following issue of the newspaper, explaining that it was caused by “the unusual situation related to COVID-19, especially using home office, which resulted in failure of standard control mechanisms”.

Therefore – drink any liquid you prefer, but do not try to enchant it by your phone 😊

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