Stopping the Spread of False Information

NORTHEAST MISSISSIPPI, (WCBI) – In the last week, Tweets and Facebook posts involving threats in schools have gone viral, but many have been false information.

Law enforcement and school systems ask people to contact them for answers.

Some of the posts didn’t even involve a Mississippi school system, but any city with an S at the start of its name was treating the situation as if it was their own.

“There was concern in organizations that started with an S in multiple places in the country,” said Starkville Police PIO, Cpl. Brandon Lovelady.

One of those S’s was Starkville, and even though law enforcement and the school district assured parents it wasn’t them the post continued to rack up shares.

“We do everything we can to investigate them, but we don’t want misinformation to spread,” said Lovelady.

Similar situations in West Point and Choctaw County have school board leaders worried on how bad a situation can get out of hand.

“It’s serious, and it’s about making sure that people understand that these types of activities cause major disruptions,” said Starkville – Oktibbeha County School District Superintendent, Dr. Eddie Peasant.

Like the students who make the posts and the people who read them, law enforcement and school districts also have social media pages.

And they want you to direct your questions to them before another wrong story gets the spotlight.

“Social media is a great tool, now. It is a great tool to get information out, but we need to be making sure that if it is something public safety related, to your best ability, please try to vet the information,” said Lovelady.

“Allow us to be able to address it, handle it, and trust us that we will get information to them,” said Peasant.

Another point law enforcement wants to make is that too many of these fake posts can desensitize a community.

Think of it like the boy who cried wolf.

If a real threat was to happen and become a reality, the post could be treated like the ones before it, fake.

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