Have you ever shared another person’s post? Have you ever said “fake news”?
If you have shared another person’s post, then did you vet, verify, and make absolutely certain that what your friend posted was true? Did you ask your friend if they vetted it? If not, then how can you be sure it is accurate? How can you be sure it is true?
Have you ever responded to a post that spoke about something a person or business did that you didn’t agree with? Have you seen a social media post about bad service at a business or head a business made a racist action? Did you show support of the poster by saying that you’ll stop supporting the business as a result?
Recently there are two stories that have been getting attention. One is the doxing of a person, and the other is the bashing of a pizza place accused of being racist.
There are a couple of things about both of these that are concerning. There are a couple of things that show how quickly mob mentality can overreach.
Biking at the Wrong Time
A post was made looking for a biker who was on a certain trail on a given day who did some bad things. People did searches of recorded bike routes that people had posted and were able to narrow their search down to a man who was on the identified trail on the given day near the given time.
People then doxed the identified person. They posted information on the man including his address and contact information. The man immediately started getting threats, calls, and posts calling him out. The man immediately had is life turned upside down.
The problem is, the original post by the detective hunting down the man had a mistake. It posted the wrong date. While the detective did a follow-up post rather quickly, few people paid attention to it. The main post was the focus and it was shared tens of thousands of times. The correction was posted less than a hundred times.
The man talked to the police and was cleared, but social media lives on. People didn’t vet the original post, and publicly named and threatened the wrong person. This person was then treated as guilty by social media with out any due process or without most people even asking him about the situation. Guilty by Social Media.
The biker incident was not in Fishers, but locally there is a potentially similar issue happening. This local story is still evolving. In this case, a social media post was made describing a racist customer experience at a local Fishers Pizza King restaurant.
The original accusatory post is being shared by a large number of people who don’t know the original poster. The story that is told in the post has questions raised because of references to timing. For example, a person can’t visit a restaurant for years if it opened only a year ago. Others also reported that they had seen the same post, but under a different name. These are comments being made about the post – comments which also have not been vetted.
This is not to say the posted experience at Pizza King isn’t real.
The Pizza King is looking into the story to determine if it is real. The Pizza King didn’t immediately make a post that said the claim is false. Rather, they took the accusation seriously and said they are looking into it. They’ve posted this on their site.
What is certain, is that the people I’ve seen post the story don’t know the person that wrote it, nor does it appear that they ask the person they copied the post from if they in-turn know the original poster.
There are numerous comments on the posts from people saying they will no longer visit the establishment. They are lighting their touches (figuratively) and some are sharing the post. They are telling friends about the incident. A few people have raised questions in the comments about things such as the timing references in the original post and about seeing the same post in other places with different names as the author.
The Pizza King is getting bombarded with horrible reviews about being racist. Many of these reviews are from people who are not even in Fishers or even in Indiana. Numerous people are saying they will never visit the Pizza King again. There are reviews from people who likely would never visit that particular Pizza King regardless.
As stated, this story is still unfolding. Regardless, this business has been tried, found guilty, and and convicted by social media with out any due process or without most people even asking about the situation.
Guilty by Social Media.
Are You Spreading Fake News?
With the biker, tens of thousands of people spread an erroneous story which caused social media to try and convict him as guilty even though he wasn’t. The case of Pizza King is still outstanding with a number of questions about the post leaving some doubt. Until that doubt is resolved, the possibility of this being a fake post is real.
If the post is fake, then a business could be irreparably damaged due to the posts people shared. People need to be responsible for the posts they share. They need to make sure there is no chance of their posts being fake news. We need to stop the social media mobs from attacking and finding innocent people or businesses Guilty by Social Media.
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I plan to do a story on fake Facebook accounts. Just because an account is older or has friends and posts doesn’t mean the account is what it claims.