Video: Social Media Crisis

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STARKVILLE, Miss. (WCBI)-When something big happens it seems almost everyone turns to social media to find out what’s going on.

It’s easy, You pick up your phone and the latest developments are at your fingertips.

However, it’s also very easy to get the wrong information and create more panic.
On Thursday students were all following social media closely to stay updated on what was called an “active shooter” situation. It turned out not to be the case.

However, students had phones in their hand and were sending out information. Some of it wasn’t accurate.
“They are serving the roll of a journalist, but they don’t know what the right ethical, practice, or the best practice in general are with this,” MSU professor Kevin Williams said.

When the alert was first sent out, the term “active shooter” was used to describe the situation.

MSU Professor Dr. Kevin Williams said even though the Maroon Alert was inaccurate by saying there was “active shooter,” social media helped keep students aware of what was happening on campus moments after the alert was sent out.

“Think about the end goal again. They were sprinting to get to safety. Run, don’t hide just run. Run, run, run, get away and that’s what they were doing and social media made them aware of that situation,” Williams said.

MSU maintains student safety is a priority and when they have credible information from law enforcement, they will issue an alert.

However, some students believe it caused mass confusion.

“It was hard and frustrating. My family calling me, I really don’t know the information to give them,” current MSU student Victor Marion said.

MSU grad student Pranaav Jadhav was live tweeting from campus near where police were swarming to secure the scene.

He said sometimes tweeting can lead to bad information but that’s the nature of breaking news.

“In hindsight now when you look at it, maybe the word choice wasn’t right, maybe I should have taken more precaution before I tweeted something out,” Jadhav said.

Information on social media during an emergency or threat will change as more information is released.

It’s up to the person posting “the news” to determine if it’s accurate.

Williams believe the posts from MSU students last Thursday helped.

“They were running for their lives, sprinting across campus trying to find safety. Now yes, that was created because of the panic, and because of the misinformation,” Williams said.
MSU sent out numerous Maroon Alert Tweets very quickly with accurate information about the situation.


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