Think before you share on social media

Published 10:11 pm Monday, September 19, 2016

There are many positives about social media. Websites like Facebook, Twitter and others help us stay close to family and friends, even if they’re a world away.

Unfortunately, there are many negative sides to social media too. Just in the last few days, we’ve seen many of them locally in Selma and Dallas County.

On Monday, many posted on social media that a body had been found near the Flea Market in Selma. Then, it was multiple bodies — three, six, eight, dozens. Then someone posted it was horse bones that had been found. Many had it from “reliable sources” that bodies had been dug up and that body bags were seen all over the property.

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The story had more twists and turns than a group of teenagers playing telephone.

As it turns out, the Selma Police Department was looking for the remains of two missing people, but ended up not finding anything. The department was working off of a tip and nothing more.

Sadly, that’s not the only example of social media turning nothing into something.

Clowns have become the hottest topic on Facebook and in some cases the discussion is valid. In parts of the country, including in Escambia County within our own state, people have been arrested for creating clown pages on Facebook and then posting threats. On Monday, the Montgomery Police Department investigated a threat to its school system from a group of “clowns” but ended up finding there was no credible threat.

It’s concerning that clown Facebook pages have become all the rage, but it’s worth keeping in mind how much social media is playing into the hysteria.

Based on social media, there have been so many clown sightings that people wearing ordinary clothes should be sticking out like a needle in a haystack.

The people wearing the clown masks and posting threatening videos on social media want attention and they are getting plenty of it.

Superintendents and school system leaders should always take this sort of thing seriously and we have no doubt those in our community will do so, if there is any hint of concern.

Our point is this — think before you share and don’t believe everything you read on social media.