Stop spread of rumors on social media

Published 7:50 pm Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Every now and then, there’s an incident in LaGrange or Troup County that gets everyone talking on social media.

People drive by the scene of an accident or incident, post about what they saw and ask others for information. Somewhere along the way, like a game of telephone, the information usually gets twisted and rumors begin to swirl, resulting in incorrect information getting posted on social media.

An example of this type of behavior is an incident that occurred Sunday, where a local woman died in a vehicle, and many online commenters speculated as to the true cause.

Out of respect for the deceased’s family, I’m not going back into the details here. Instead, I’m going to use the incident as an example for how quickly a story can get twisted on social media. 

Hundreds, if not thousands, of people drove past the scene, which police tried to keep under wraps for privacy for the victim and the family.

A couple of people wrote that a heinous crime occurred, although at this point, it appears that was not the case. According to police, the woman died of natural causes.

In today’s world, anyone can pull out their phone and temporarily put on the hat of a reporter. In this case, several people heard rumors of a crime and went to social media with the details, which unfortunately led to more talk and more incorrect information spreading rapidly.

Part of our job is to dispel incorrect information and to inform the community.

We’ll always do that by going through the proper authorities, whether that be the police department, sheriff’s office, Georgia State Patrol or another entity.  Social media can be a great thing, and it has changed the world forever, allowing us to connect to people all over the country at the click of a button. But it also means we have to be extremely careful, especially when discussing and reporting on information related to a potential crime scene.