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#Broomstickchallenge is a Hoax!

Photo Credit: Fresh Daily 3 mins read

A viral trend on Twitter asserts that brooms can only stand on their own on February 10 due to gravitational pull.

Besides NASA debunking the claim, several publications have also identified this assertion as a hoax that has been in existence for long. Therefore, brooms can stand on its own on any day of the year and not limited to particular days.

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Topping the Twitter trend table on 10th and 11th of February is  #broomchallenge. This hashtag, allegedly, was brought about by a prior announcement made by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). 

As conveyed by a Twitter User, this body has said, “today is the only day that brooms will stay up on it’s own due to Earth’s gravitational pull today.” Subsequently, the Twitter community decided to put it to practice, posting videos of standing brooms, and in some other cases, videos of attempts to make the broom stand. 

There have been contrasting views on the subject matter. While some users believe the preachings of the claim to be accurate, others identify it as a mere hoax. Some related it to a particular myth that eggs can stand on its ends during an equinox; a date on which both the day and night are of equal length. 

Verification

While Twitter users attributed the claims to The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), they failed to indicate where and when the US body made the statement. 

Nonetheless, Dubawa decided to start its research from the alleged source of the information’s website; we couldn’t find anything that supports the viral claim. 

NASA’s news releases for 10th and 11th of February did not suggest anything of the sort. Further research took us to NASA’s Twitter page where we found this video, setting the record straight.

Also, this CNN article goes against the notion that booms can only stand on February 10 because of the gravitational pull on the day. It merely explains the broom’s ability to stand on its own is consequent on its low centre of gravity. It further surmised provided the bristles were positioned as a tripod, the brush would stand upright any day of the year. 

It’s an old hoax!

A video from ‘2012’ – yes, the hoax is not new – attached to the article further explains the logic.

Newsweek gives a little background to how it all started here; revealing that this viral claim originates from a ‘longstanding urban myth or old wives’ tale. It occurs on specific dates, every year, identified as the vernal and autumnal equinox; an example was the “eggs can balance on their ends” myth. 

The article further referenced a Snopes article in 1999; an article that revealed that the act of standing eggs upright on certain special days started in China. Therein, the belief was that nature was in balance if you could balance an egg on the equinox. Going by this, February 10 is a wrong date regardless. This is because the spring equinox takes place around March 20 and the autumn equinox takes place around September 22. 

Lateef Sanni is a graduate of mass communication from Lagos state university. Before joining Dubawa, he belonged to the association of campus journalists where he was trained on the basics of fact-checking, a tool for combating misinformation in Nigeria. He joined the Dubawa team as a researcher and content developer for Dubawa's social media platforms. He consistently works to improve the dissemination of fact-checks through pictures [fact cards] and videos.

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