NBC News
The various false text messages forwarded to many Americans on Sunday and Monday all started a little differently before making the same debunked claim: Martial law is coming. Martial law is not coming. U.S. politicians sought Monday to remove any doubt and publicly debunked the rumors. But the messages proved hard to stop or even trace, because they were shared in texts, often forwarded by people who meant well. With social media networks like Facebook and Twitter cracking down on the spread of dangerous misinformation in the face of the pandemic, misleading information and false claims have moved to what experts are calling a literal "game of telephone" in text-messaging apps. Some users, even those who have no intention of spreading wrong information, are forwarding along viral rumors and urban legends to push vital information that is frequently untrue.