April 16, 2024

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Google denies shutting down Gmail after viral hoax

Google denies shutting down Gmail after viral hoax

Image source, Getty Images

Google was forced to publicly state that Gmail is “here to stay” after a hoax claiming it would shut down the service spread widely on social media.

A post on X, formerly Twitter, which has been viewed more than seven million times, claimed it would be shut down in August.

Google took the same platform to reject the false claim.

A communications expert told the BBC that this was a “classic example” of the dangers of misinformation.

Richard Bagnall, head of communications assessment firm CARMA, said: “Most people believe what they see online, and there is a lack of tools and processes to check facts.”

“While social networks can act irresponsibly and pump out unfiltered and unverified information to their audiences, this Gmail incident will not be the last case we will see.”

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All social media platforms are struggling to stop misinformation, but X has been highlighted for particular criticism over the issue, with the EU claiming in 2023 that it was worse than its peers at spreading lies.

The BBC has reached out to

The native HTML rendering was used when Gmail launched in 2004, and most people using the service these days wouldn't recognize it.

“We're reaching out to share an important update about Gmail,” the viral post read.

“After years of connecting millions around the world, enabling seamless communication, and enhancing countless connections, Gmail's journey is coming to an end.”

Gmail is the world's most popular email service, with more than 1.5 billion active users worldwide. According to Statista.

Although the false claims in the scam message are categorically denied, it is true that Google has shut down some services in recent years.

In 2023 alone, Google discontinued its gaming service Stadia, its Snapchat-like YouTube Stories feature, and began shutting down old and inactive Gmail accounts.

It has announced plans to shut down Google Podcasts, although that function has effectively been replaced by YouTube Music, which it also owns.